The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Jewish State, by Theodor Herzl
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Title: The Jewish State
Author: Theodor Herzl
Commentator: Louis Lipsky
Release Date: May 2, 2008 [EBook #25282]
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* * * * *
Dover Publications, Inc., New York
This Dover edition, first published in 1988, is an unabridged,
unaltered republication of the work originally published in 1946
by the American Zionist Emergency Council, New York, based on a
revised translation published by the Scopus Publishing Company,
New York, 1943, which was, in turn, based on the first
English-language edition, _A Jewish State_, translated by Sylvie
d'Avigdor, and published by Nutt, London, England, 1896. The
Herzl text was originally published under the title _Der
Judenstaat_ in Vienna, 1896. Please see the note on the facing
page for further details.
"_THE JEWISH STATE_" is published by the American Zionist Emergency
Council for its constituent organizations on the occasion of the 50th
Anniversary of the publication of "DER JUDENSTAAT" in Vienna, February
The translation of "THE JEWISH STATE" based on a revised translation
published by the Scopus Publishing Company was further revised by
Jacob M. Alkow, editor of this book. The biography was condensed from
Alex Bein's Theodor Herzl, published by the Jewish Publication Society
of America. The bibliography and the chronology were prepared by the
Zionist Archives and Library. To Mr. Louis Lipsky and to all of the
above mentioned contributors, the American Zionist Emergency Council
is deeply indebted.
Introduction--Louis Lipsky 9
Biography--Alex Bein 21
The Jewish State--Theodor Herzl 67
I. Introduction 73
II. The Jewish Question 85
III. The Jewish Company 98
IV. Local Groups 123
V. Society of Jews and Jewish State 136
VI. Conclusion 153
Theodore Herzl was the first Jew who projected the Jewish question as
an international problem. "The Jewish State," written fifty years ago,
was the first public expression, in a modern language, by a modern
Jew, of a dynamic conception of how the solution of the problem could
be accelerated and the ancient Jewish hope, slumbering in Jewish
memory for two thousand years, could be fulfilled.
In 1882, Leo Pinsker, a Jewish physician of Odessa, disturbed by the
pogroms of 1881, made a keen analysis of the position of the Jews,
declared that anti-Semitism was a psychosis and incurable, that the
cause of it was the abnormal condition of Jewish life, and that the
only remedy for it was the removal of the cause through self-help and
self-liberation. The Jewish people must become an independent nation,
settled on the soil of their own land and leading the life of a normal
people. Moses Hess in his "Rome and Jerusalem" classified the Jewish
question as one of the nationalist struggles inspired by the French
Revolution. Perez Smolenskin and E. Ben-Yehuda urged the revival of
Hebrew and the resettlement of Palestine as the foundation for the
rebirth of the Jewish people. Herzl was unaware of the existence of
these works. His eyes were not directed to the problem in the same
manner. When he wrote "The Jewish State" he was a journalist, living
in Paris, sending his letters to the leading newspaper of Vienna, the
_Neue Freie Presse_, and writing on a great variety of subjects. He
was led to see Jewish life as a phenomenon in a changing world. He had
adapted himself to a worldly outlook on all life. Through his efforts,
the Jewish problem was raised to the higher level of an international
question which, in his judgment, should be given consideration by
enlightened statesmanship. He was inspired to give his pamphlet a
title that arrested attention.
* * * * *
He wrote "The Jewish State" in a mood of restless agitation. His ideas
were thrown pell-mell into the white heat of a spontaneous revelation.
What was revealed dazzled and blinded him. Alex Bein, in his excellent
biography, gives an intriguing description, drawn from Herzl's
"Diaries," of how "The Jewish State" was born. It was the revelation
of a mystic vision with flashes and overtones of prophecy. This is
what Bein says:
"Then suddenly the storm breaks upon him. The clouds open. The
thunder rolls. The lightning flashes about him. A thousand
impressions beat upon him at the same time--a gigantic vision.
He cannot think; he is unable to move; he can only write;
breathless, unreflecting, unable to control himself or to
exercise his critical faculties lest he dam the eruption, he
dashes down his thoughts on scraps of paper--walking, standing,
lying down, on the street, at the table, in the night--as if
under unceasing command. So furiously did the cataract of his
thoughts rush through him, that he thought he was going out of
his mind. He was not working out the idea. The idea was working
him out. It would have been an hallucination had it not been so
informed by reason from first to last."
Not only did the Magic Title evoke a widespread interest among the
intellectuals of the day, but it brought Jews out of the ghettos and
made them conscious of their origin and destiny. It made them feel
that there was a world that might be won for their cause, hitherto
never communicated to strangers. Through Herzl, Jews were taught not
to fear the consequences of an international movement to demand their
national freedom. Thereafter, with freedom, they were to speak of a
Zionist Congress, of national funds, of national schools, of a flag
and a national anthem, and the redemption of their land. Their spirits
were liberated and in thought they no longer lived in ghettos. Herzl
taught them not to hide in corners. At the First Congress he said, "We
have nothing to do with conspiracy, secret intervention or indirect
methods. We wish to put the question in the arena and under the
control of free public opinion." The Jews were to be active factors in
their emancipation and, if they wished it, what was described in "The
Jewish State" would not be a dream but a reality.
* * * * *
The beginnings of the Jewish renaissance preceded the appearance of
"The Jewish State" by several decades. In every section of Russian
Jewry and extending to wherever the Jews clung to their Hebraic
heritage, there was an active Zionist life. The reborn Hebrew was
becoming an all-pervading influence. There were scores of Hebrew
schools and academies. Hebrew journals of superior quality had a wide
circulation. Ever since the pogroms of 1881, the ideas of Pinsker and
Smolenskin and Gordon were discussed with great interest and deep
understanding. There were many Zionist societies in Russia, in Poland,
in Rumania, in Galicia and even in the United States. In "The Jewish
State" Herzl alludes to the language of The Jewish State and passes
Hebrew by as a manifestation of no great significance. He has a poorer
opinion of Yiddish, the common language of Jews, which he regards as
"the furtive language of prisoners." This was obviously an oversight.
With the advent of Herzl, however, Zionism was no more a matter of
domestic concern only. It was no longer internal Jewish problem only,
not a theme for discussion only at Zionist meetings, not a problem to
heat the spirits of Jewish writers. The problem of Jewish exile now
occupied a place on the agenda of international affairs.
* * * * *
Herzl was not so distant from his people as many of the Russian
Zionists at first surmised. He was familiar with the social
anti-Semitism of Austria and Germany. He knew of the disabilities of
the Jews in Russia. There are many references in his feuilletons to
matters of Jewish interest. He had read an anti-Semitic book written
by Eugen Duehring called "The Jewish Problem as a Problem of Race,
Morals and Culture." One of his closest friends had gone to Brazil for
a Jewish committee to investigate the possibility of settling Jews in
that part of South America. In 1892 he wrote an article on French
anti-Semitism in which he considered the solution of a return to Zion
and seemed to reject it. He wrote "The New Ghetto" two years before
"The Jewish State" appeared. He was present at the trial of Alfred
Dreyfus in December, 1894. He witnessed the degradation of Dreyfus and
heard the cries of "Down with the Jews" in the streets of Paris. He
read Edouard Drumont's anti-Semitic journal "La France Juive" and
said, "I have to thank Drumont for much of the freedom of my present
conception of the Jewish problem." While he was in Paris he was
stirred as never before by the feeling that the plight of the Jews was
a problem which would have to have the cooperation of enlightened
statesmanship. What excited him in the strangest way was the
unaccountable indifference of Jews themselves to what seemed to him
the menace of the existing situation. He saw the Jews in every land
encircled by enemies, hostility to them growing with the increase of
their numbers. In his excitement he thought first of Jewish
philanthropists. He sought an interview with Baron Maurice de Hirsch
in May, 1895. He planned an address to the Rothschilds. He talked of
his ideas to friends in literary circles. His mind was obsessed by a
gigantic problem which gave him no rest. He was struggling to pierce
the veils of revelation. He saw a world in which the Jewish people
lacked a fulcrum for national action and therefore had to seek to
create it through beneficence. He had a remarkably resourceful and
agile imagination. He weighed ideas, balanced them, discarded them,
reflected, reconsidered, tried to reconcile contradictions, and
finally came to what seemed to him at the moment the synthesis of the
issue which seemed acceptable to reason and sentiment.
* * * * *
Obviously, "The Jewish State" was not a dogmatic finality. Most of the
plans for settlement and migration are improvisations. The pamphlet
was not a rigid plan or a blueprint. It was not a description of a
Utopia, although some parts of it give that impression. It had an
indicated destiny but was not bound by a rigid line. It was the
illumination of a dynamic thought and followed the light with the hope
that it might lead to fulfillment. There was room for detours and
variations. It was to be rewritten, as he knew, not by its author but
by the Jewish people on their way to freedom.
* * * * *
In fact, it was revised from the moment the Zionist movement was
organized on an international basis. The "Society of Jews" became the
Zionist Organization, with its statutes, its procedures, its public
excitement and controversies. "The Jewish Company" became the Bank;
then more specifically, the Jewish Colonial Trust and later the
Anglo-Palestine Bank. The description of the _Gestor_, which appears
in the final chapter of the pamphlet, was never referred to again,
but in effect it was incorporated in the idea of a state
in-the-process-of-becoming. Its legitimate successor is the Jewish
Agency referred to in the Mandate for Palestine. He was first led by
the idea that the way to the charter was through the Sultan and that
the Sultan would be influenced by Kaiser Wilhelm. But both princes
failing him, he turned to England and Joseph Chamberlain, and came to
the Uganda proposal. This was Herzl's one political success although
the project was, in effect, rejected by the Zionist Congress. But
this encounter with England was a precedent which led to much
speculation in Zionist circles and gave a turn to Zionist thought
away from Germany and Turkey. It served to inspire Dr. Chaim Weizman
to make his home in England with the express purpose of seeking
English sympathy for the Zionist ideal. The successor of Joseph
Chamberlain was Arthur James Balfour. When Herzl opened Chamberlain's
door, Zionism had an easier access to the England of Balfour.
When Herzl first appeared on the political scene, he thought of
courtiers and statesmen, of princes and kings. He found that they
could not be relied upon for truth or stability. They were encircled
by favorites and mercenaries. Enormous responsibilities rested upon
their shoulders but they seemed to behave with regard to these
responsibilities as if they were gamblers or amateurs. Herzl soon
realized that these were frail reeds that would break under the
slightest pressure. He came to put his trust in the Jewish people,
the only real source of strength for the purpose of redemption.
Confidence in themselves would give them power to breach their prison
walls. His aristocratic republic had to become a movement of
democracy. Only in "The Jewish State" will you find reference to a
movement based upon Jews who endorse a "fixed program," and then
become members under the "discipline" of leadership. When Herzl faced
the First Congress, he saw that this conception of Zionism was foreign
to the nature and character of the Jewish people. The shekel was the
registry of a name. It led the way to the elevation of the individual
in Zionist affairs, first as a member of a democratic army "willing"
the fulfillment, and then settling in Palestine to become the hands
that built the Homeland.
Arrayed in the armor of democracy, the Zionist movement made the
self-emancipation ideal of Pinsker live in the soul of Herzl. At a
number of Congresses, in his articles in Die Welt, Herzl showed how
that idea had become an integral part of his life, although his first
thoughts ran in quite another direction.
But his analysis of anti-Semitism and how to approach the problem
remains true today after Hitler, as it was true then after Dreyfus.
This was the authentic revelation that in his last days was fixed in
his mind. The homelessness of the Jewish people must come to an end.
That tragedy is a world problem. It is to be solved by world
statesmanship in cooperation with the reawakened Jewish people. It is
to be solved by the establishment of a free Jewish State in their
historic Homeland. Herzl manifested his utter identification with the
destiny of his own people at the Uganda Congress when he faced the
rebellious Russian Zionists, spoke words of consolation to them and
gave them assurances of his fealty to Zion. He died a few months
"The Jewish State" was not regarded by Herzl as a piece of literature.
It was a political document. It was to serve as the introduction to
political action. It was to lead to the conversion of leaders in
political life. It was to win converts to the idea of a Jewish State.
Although a shy man at first, he did not hesitate to make his way
through the corridors of the great and suffer the humiliations of the
suppliant. Through that remarkable friend and Christian, the Reverend
William H. Hechler, he met the Grand Duke of Baden; he made the rounds
of German statesmen, Count zu Eulenburg, Foreign Minister, Von Buelow
and Reichschancellor Hohenlohe; then he met the favorites who
encircled Sultan Abdul Hamid and the Sultan himself. He placed the
dramatic personae of his drama on the stage. The plan involved the
Turkish debt, the German interest in the Orient. It involved
stimulating the Russians and visiting the Pope. At first his political
activities were conducted as the author of a startling pamphlet, then
as the leader of his people. He became conscious of his leadership,
and played his part with superb dignity. He had ease of manner and
correct form. He created the impression of a regal personality; his
noble appearance hid his hesitations and fears. With the Sultan he
played the most remarkable game of diplomacy. He believed that once a
mutual interest could be arrived at, he would be able to secure the
funds, although at the time of speaking he had no funds at all.
Adjusting himself to the wily Turk, he had to change and diminish his
demands and finally, when he was dangerously near a disclosure, he was
saved by the Sultan's transferring his interest to the French and
obtaining his funds from them. With Kaiser Wilhelm, he soon
appreciated the fact that he had to deal with a great theatrical
personality who spoke of plans and purpose with great fire, but had
no courage and whose convictions melted away in the face of
The world Herzl dealt with has passed away. The Turkish Empire now
occupies a small part of the Near East. Its former provinces have now
become "sovereign" states struggling to establish harmony between
themselves and feeding on their animus towards the Jewish people
returning home. The methods of diplomacy have changed. Loudness of
speech is no longer out of order. Frankness and brutality may be
expected at any international gathering. It is now felt as never
before that behind political leaders, rulers, princes, statesmen, the
people are advancing and soon will be able to push aside those who
make of the relations of peoples a game and a gamble, a struggle for
power, which, when achieved, dissolves into the nothingness of vanity.
* * * * *
"The Jewish State" should be regarded as one of a series of books,
variations on the same theme, composed by the same author. The first
was "The New Ghetto" (1894). That was a play which dealt with the
social life of the upper class of Jews in Vienna. Then came the
"Address to the Rothschilds." That was a memorandum which contained a
proposal to Jewish philanthropists. "The Jewish State" was the third
effort of an agitated mind, wavering between the projection of a
Utopia or a thesis, and containing the political solution of the
Jewish problem. The final variant of the original theme was the novel
"Altneuland." Here he pictured the Promised Land as it might become
twenty years after the beginning of the Zionist movement. In the
interims, he played on the exciting stage of the Zionist Congresses.
He paid court to princes and their satellites. He led in the
organization of the Jewish Colonial Trust and the Jewish National
Fund. He delivered political addresses and engaged in political
controversy. He began the writing of his "Diaries" after he had
written "The Jewish State." His whole personality is reflected in that
remarkable book. There you see his ideas in the process of becoming
clear. There you see his sharp reactions; the reflection of his hopes,
his disappointments, his shifts from untenable positions to positions
possible after defeat. There you read his penetrating analysis of the
figures on the Zionist stage upon whom he had to rely. There you are
made to feel his doubts, his dread of death. In the midst of life he
felt himself encircled by the Shadow of Death. There you found the
explanation of his great haste, why he was so anxious to bring a
measure of practical reality to the Jewish people even if it
necessitated a detour from the land which was becoming more and more a
part of his hopes and desires. The "Diaries" are unrestrained and
unstudied. They were written hurriedly in the heat of the moment. They
reveal the making of the great personality who gave only a glimpse of
himself in "The Jewish State." They show the writer evolving as the
hero of a great and lasting legend. The pamphlet is one of the
chapters in the story of his struggle to achieve in eight years what
his people had not been able to achieve in two thousand years. He gave
his life to write it.
based on the work of
Theodor Herzl was born on Wednesday, May 2, 1860, in the city of
Almost next door to his father's house was the liberal-reform temple.
To this house of worship the little boy went regularly with his father
on Sabbaths and Holy Days. At home, too, the essentials of the ritual
were observed. One ceremony which Theodor learned in childhood
remained with him; before every important event and decision he sought
the blessing of his parents.
Even stronger than these impressions, however, was the influence of
his mother. Her education had been German through and through; there
was not a day on which she did not slip into German literature,
especially the classics.
The Jewish world, not alien to her, did not find expression through
her; her conscious efforts were all directed toward implanting the
German cultural heritage in her children. Of even deeper significance
was her sympathetic attitude toward the pride which showed early in
her son, and her skill in transferring to him her sense of form, of
bearing, of tactfulness and of simple grace.
At about the age of twelve he read in a German book about the
Messiah-King whom many Jews still awaited and who would come riding,
like the poorest of the poor on an ass. The history of the Exodus and
the legend of the liberation by the King-Messiah ran together in the
boy's mind, inspiring in him the theme of a wonderful story which he
sought in vain to put into literary form.
A little while thereafter Herzl had the following dream: "The
King-Messiah came, a glorious and majestic old man, took me in his
arms, and swept off with me on the wings of the wind. On one of the
iridescent clouds we encountered the figure of Moses. The features
were those familiar to me out of my childhood in the statue by
Michelangelo. The Messiah called to Moses: It is for this child that I
have prayed. But to me he said: Go, declare to the Jews that I shall
come soon and perform great wonders and great deeds for my people and
for the whole world."
It may be to this period (of his _Bar Mitzvah_) of reawakened Jewish
sensitivity, of heightened responsiveness to the expectations of his
elders, of resurgent interest in Jewish historical studies--it may be
to this period that the dream of a dedicated life belonged. It is
almost certain, too, that for the great event of the _Bar Mitzvah_ the
old grandfather of Semlin came to Pest. About this time, again,
Alkalai, that early, all-but-forgotten Zionist, passed through Vienna
and Budapest on his final journey to Palestine. Whether or not each
one of these circumstances had a direct effect on the boy, the whole
complex surrounds his _Bar Mitzvah_ with the suggestion of the mission
of his life, and, certainly, occasion was given for the awakening in
him of the feeling of dedication to a great enterprise.
The attention, energy and time which Herzl devoted to literature, at
fifteen, his absorption in himself, his activity in the school
literary society meant of course so much less given to his school
work. He found no time at all for science; Jewish questions likewise
disappeared from his interests; he was completely absorbed by German
literary culture. This is all the more astonishing when we reflect
that anti-Semitism continued to increase steadily. As a grown man
Herzl could recall that one of his teachers, in defining the word
"heathen," had said, "such as idolators, Mohammedans and Jews."
Whether it was this incident,--as the memory of the grown man always
insisted--which enraged him beyond endurance, or the increasingly bad
school reports, or both circumstances together, the fact remains that
on February 4, 1875 Herzl left the Technical School.
At sixteen to eighteen in High School, he struggled to define the
basic principles of various literary art forms in order that he might
see more clearly what he himself wanted to say. He took an active and
eager part in the work of the "German Self-Education Society" created
by the students of his school. The Jewish world, whose inferior
position always wounded his pride, and whose obstinate separatism
seemed to him utterly meaningless, drifted further and further out of
At eighteen, after the sudden death of his only sister, the family
moved to Vienna where Herzl entered the University as a law student.
Herzl, who accounted himself a liberal and an Austrian patriot,
plunged eagerly into the activities of a large student Cultural
Association, attended its discussions and directed its literary
evenings. He had occasion, there, to deride certain Jewish fellow
members who, in his view, displayed an excessive eagerness in their
loyalty to various movements.
This was the extent to which, in these days, he occupied himself with
the Jewish question--at least externally. He concerned himself little
or not at all with the official Jewish world which was seeking to
submerge itself in the surrounding world. He seldom visited the
He was an omnivorous reader. His extraordinary knowledge of books was
evident in his conversation, for he liked to adorn his speech with
quotations, which came readily to his memory. Herzl read Eugen
Duehring's book _The Jewish-Problem as a Problem of Race, Morals and
Culture_--the first and most important effort to find a "scientific,"
philosophic, biologic and historical basis for the anti-Semitism which
was sweeping through Europe in those days (1881). Duehring saw the
Jewish question as a purely racial question, and for him the Jewish
race was without any worth whatsoever. Those peoples which, out of a
false sentiment of humanity, had permitted the Jews to live among them
with equal and sometimes even with superior rights, had to be
liberated from the harmful intruder, had to be de-Judaized.
The reading of this book had the effect upon him of a blow between the
eyes. The observations set down in his diary burn with indignation:
"An infamous book.... If Duehring, who unites so much undeniable
intelligence with so much universality of knowledge, can write like
this, what are we to expect from the ignorant masses?"
This passionate reaction to Duehring's book shows us how deeply he had
been moved, and how fearfully he had been shaken in his belief that
the Jewish question was on the point of disappearing. We shall find
echoes of this experience in the pages of the _Judenstaat_. For the
time being, however, he shrank from the logical consequences of his
reactions. His inner pride began to build itself up.
The more immediate reaction was undoubtedly a sharpened perception and
evaluation of his fellow-members in the Fraternity. Herzl had joined
and been active in a duelling Fraternity. Here, too, anti-Semitism was
breaking through; student after student expressed himself favorably
toward the Jew-baiting speeches of Schoenerer, who was making a
special effort to win over the universities. In the Fraternity debates
Herzl expressed himself sharply against any open or covert
manifestation of such sympathy. But he was already known for the
sharpness of his tongue and the individuality of his views. Thus he
won to himself neither the few co-religionists who belonged to the
Fraternity nor the mass of the Germanic students.
He had learned from newspaper reports that the Wagner Memorial
meeting, in which his Fraternity had taken a part, had been
transformed into an anti-Semitic demonstration. His Fraternity had,
therefore, identified itself with a movement which he, as a believer
in liberty, was bound to condemn, even if he had not been a Jew. "It
is pretty clear that, handicapped as I am by my Semitism (the word was
not yet known at the time of my entry), I would today refrain from
seeking a membership which would, indeed, probably be refused me; it
must also be clear to every decent person that under these
circumstances I cannot wish to retain my membership." Herzl withdrew
from the organization.
On July 30, 1884, Herzl was admitted to the bar in Vienna. His student
days were over. A new era opened for him, with its challenge to prove
whether or not there was something in him to establish and proclaim to
In August, he entered on his law practice in the service of the state
and was soon transferred to the court of Salzburg. Though he may at
that time have been so far from Judaism that only pride and a decent
respect for the feelings of his parents stood between him and baptism,
he could not help perceiving that as a Jew he would find the higher
levels of the civil service hierarchy closed to him. On August 5,
1885, he withdrew from the service, determined to seek fame and
fortune as a writer.
Brimming with hope, he set out on a journey which was to be the
introduction to his literary life. He visited Belgium and Holland and
in Berlin made valuable connections and became a regular contributor
to several important newspapers. Thus the range of his connections and
relationships widened from year to year, and when he travelled again
it was an ever-widening audience that waited for his impressions and
In a book of reprinted feuilletons of Herzl which appeared in the
first years of his success as a journalist a total of seven or eight
lines is devoted to Jews. His impressions of the Ghetto in Rome. "What
a steaming in the air, what a street! Countless open doors and windows
thronged with innumerable pallid and worn-out faces. The ghetto! With
what base and persistent hatred these unfortunates have been
persecuted for the sole crime of faithfulness to their religion. We've
travelled a long way since those times: nowadays the Jew is despised
only for having a crooked nose, or for being a plutocrat even when he
happens to be a pauper." Pity and bitterness abound in these lines,
but they are written by a detached spectator. He did not know how much
of the Jew there was in him even in this feeling of remoteness from a
world which offered him not living reality but folly.
By 1892, Herzl had achieved great success as a dramatist and as a
journalist; his plays had been performed on the stage of the leading
theatre of Vienna and, to cap the climax, came an appointment to the
staff of the _Neue Freie Presse_, one of the most distinguished papers
on the continent.
Early in October he received a telegram from the _Neue Freie Presse_
asking whether he would accept the post of Paris correspondent. He
replied at once in the affirmative, and proceeded to the French
capital at the end of the same month. He wrote to his parents: "The
position of Paris correspondent is the springboard to great things,
and I shall achieve them, to your great joy, my dear beloved parents."
Herzl sustained successfully the comparison with his great models and
predecessors. In style as well as in substance his reports and
articles were masterpieces of their kind. He came to his task with the
equipment of a perfect feuilletonist; his style was polished and
musical; he possessed in an exceptional degree the capacity to
describe natural scenery in a few fine clear strokes and of hinting
at, rather than of reproducing, a mood with a minimum of language.
Everything was there, background, mood and development of action in
plastic balance. It was only now, when a great opportunity provoked
him to the highest effort, that all the lessons of the years of his
apprenticeship built up a many-sided perfection.
He threw himself seriously and diligently into the journalistic craft.
He observed with close attention all that went on about him, and
listened with sharpened ears. But the moment had not yet come for the
unveiling of a mission within him. He was on the way; the process of
preparation had begun.
How, in this mood of his, could he possibly have avoided clashing with
the Jewish question? As far back as the time of his Spanish journey,
when he had sought healing from his domestic and spiritual torments,
the question had presented itself to him and had cried for artistic
expression. His call to Paris had been a welcome pretext, perhaps,
putting off the writing of his Jewish novel--the more so as he
probably was not ripe enough for such an undertaking. Now that he was
in Paris, where his eyes were opened to the full range of the social
process, he began to draw nearer in spirit to his fellow-Jews, and to
look upon them more warmly and with less inhibition. He found them as
difficult aesthetically as before, but he tried hard to grasp the
essence of their character and substance, and to judge them without
When Herzl arrived in Paris anti-Semitism, had not--in spite of
Drumont's exertions, and in spite of his paper, _la Libre Parole_,
founded in 1892--achieved the dimensions of a genuine movement, nor
was it destined to become one in the German sense. But it served as
the focus for all kinds of discontents and resentments; it attracted
certain serious critical spirits, too; its influence grew from day to
day, and the position of the Jews became increasingly uncomfortable.
Herzl's contact with anti-Semitism dated back to his student days,
when it had first taken on the form of a social political movement. He
had been aware of it as a writer, though the contact had never ripened
into a serious inner struggle or compelled him to give utterance to
Now he read Drumont, as he had read Duehring. The impression was again
a profound one. What moved him most in the work was the totality of a
world picture based on a considered hostility to the Jews.
A ritual-murder trial was in progress in the town of Xanten, in the
Rhineland. On August 31, 1892, Herzl, dealing with this subject as
with all other subjects of public interest, summed up the general
situation in a long report entitled "French anti-Semitism."
By now Herzl was no longer content with a simple acceptance of the
facts; he was looking for the deeper significance of the universal
enmity directed against the Jews. For the world it is a lightning
conductor. But so far it was only a flash of insight which ended in
nothing more than a literary paradox. However, from now on it gave him
At the turn of the year 1892-93 there came a sharp clarification in
his ideas. He had followed closely the evasive debates in the Austrian
Reichstag--debates which forever dodged the reality by turning the
question into one of religion. "It is no longer--and it has not been
for a long time--a theological matter. It has nothing whatsoever to do
with religion and conscience," declared Herzl. "What is more, everyone
knows it. The Jewish question is neither nationalistic nor religious.
It is a social question."
Then came the summer, 1894, and at its close Herzl took a much needed
vacation. He spent the month of September in Baden, near Vienna, in
the company of his fellow-feuilletonist on the _Neue Freie Presse_,
Ludwig Speidel. Herzl has left a record of their conversation. What he
gave Speidel was more or less what he had felt, many years before,
after his reading of Duehring. He admitted the substance of the
anti-Semitic accusation which linked the Jew with money; he defended
the Jew as the victim of a long historic process for which the Jew was
not responsible. "It is not our fault, not the fault of the Jews, that
we find ourselves forced into the role of alien bodies in the midst of
various nations. The ghetto, which was not of our making, bred in us
certain anti-social qualities.... Our original character cannot have
been other than magnificent and proud; we were men who knew how to
face war and how to defend the state; had we not started out with such
gifts, how could we have survived two thousand years of unrelenting
At that time Herzl came across the Zionist solution, and definitely
rejected it. Discussing the novel _Femme de Claude_, by Dumas the
younger, he says of one of its characters: "The good Jew Daniel wants
to rediscover the homeland of his race and gather his scattered
brothers into it. But a man like Daniel would surely know that the
historic homeland of the Jews no longer has any value for them. It is
childish to go in search of the geographic location of this homeland.
And if the Jews really 'returned home' one day, they would discover
on the next day that they do not belong together. For centuries they
have been rooted in diverse nationalisms; they differ from each other,
group by group; the only thing they have in common is the pressure
which holds them together. All humiliated peoples have Jewish
characteristics, and as soon as the pressure is removed they react
like liberated men."
The inner apotheosis was drawing nearer and nearer for Herzl. In
October, 1894, Herzl was in the studio of the sculptor, Samuel
Friedrich Beer, who was making a bust of him. The conversation turned
to the Jewish question and to the growth of the anti-Semitic movement
in Vienna, the hometown of both Herzl and Beer. It was useless for the
Jew to turn artist and to dissociate himself from money, said Herzl.
"The blot sticks. We can't break away from the ghetto." A great
excitement seized Herzl, and he left the atelier, and on the way home
the inspiration came on him like a hammerblow. What was it? The
complete outline of a play, "like a block of basalt."
With this play Herzl completed his inner return to his people. Until
then, with all his emotional involvement in the question, he had stood
outside it as the observer, the student, the clarifier, or even the
defender. He had provided the world-historic background for the
problem, he had diagnosed it and given the prognosis for the future.
Now he was immersed in it and identified with it.
He had become its spokesman and attorney, as he was spokesman and
attorney for other victims of injustice. It was no accident that the
hero of the play was a lawyer by vocation and avocation. For the hero
was Herzl himself, and the transformation which unfolded in Dr. Jacob
Samuel was the transformation which was unfolding in Theodore Herzl.
He belongs utterly to the Jews; it is for them that he fights, and,
dying, he still sees himself as the fighter for their future. What
future Jacob Samuel foresaw for the Jews in his dying moments remained
unclear. It would appear that Herzl himself still believed that a
deepening of mutual understanding between Jews and non-Jews might
bring the solution.
But Herzl had travelled so much further by this time that he could not
have in mind the "reconciliation" which would come by the capitulation
of baptism. Indeed, the play emphasizes as a first prerequisite in
human relations the element of self-respect. "If you become untrue to
yourself," says the clever mother to the son, in the play, "you musn't
complain if others become untrue to you." It was like a fresh wind
blowing suddenly through the choking atmosphere of a lightless room.
It was a new attitude: decent pride!
It called for a frightful effort to descend from the intoxicating
heights of creativity to the ordinary round of work. For weeks now his
regular employment had filled Herzl with revulsion. The first reports
of the Dreyfus trial, which appeared while he was working on his _New
Ghetto_, therefore made no particular impression on him. It looked
like a sordid espionage affair in which a foreign power--before long
it was revealed that the foreign power was Germany, acting through
Major von Schwartzkoppen--had been buying up through its agent secret
documents of the French general staff. An officer by the name of
Alfred Dreyfus was named as the culprit, and no one had reason to
doubt that he was guilty, even though Drumont's _Libre Parole_ was
exploiting the fact that the man was a Jew.
But, after the degradation of Dreyfus, Herzl became more and more
convinced of his innocence. "A Jew who, as an officer on the general
staff, has before him an honorable career, cannot commit such a
crime.... The Jews, who have so long been condemned to a state of
civic dishonor, have, as a result, developed an almost pathological
hunger for honor, and a Jewish officer is in this respect specifically
"The Dreyfus case," he wrote in 1899, "embodies more than a judicial
error; it embodies the desire of the vast majority of the French to
condemn a Jew, and to condemn all Jews in this one Jew. Death to the
Jews! howled the mob, as the decorations were being ripped from the
captain's coat.... Where? In France. In republican, modern, civilized
France, a hundred years after the Declaration of the Rights of Man.
The French people, or at any rate the greater part of the French
people, does not want to extend the rights of man to Jews. The edict
of the great Revolution had been revoked."
Illumined thus in retrospect, the "curious excitement" which gripped
Herzl on that occasion takes on a special significance. "Until that
time most of us believed that the solution of the Jewish question was
to be patiently waited for as part of the general development of
mankind. But when a people which in every other respect is so
progressive and so highly civilized can take such a turn, what are we
to expect from other peoples, which have not even attained the level
which France attained a hundred years ago?"
In that fateful moment, when he heard the howling of the mob outside
the gates of the _Ecole Militaire_, the realization flashed upon Herzl
that anti-Semitism was deep-rooted in the heart of the people--so
deep, indeed, that it was impossible to hope for its disappearance
within a measurable period of time. Precisely because he was so
sensitive to his honor as a Jew, precisely because he had proclaimed,
in the _New Ghetto_, the ideal of human reconciliation, and had taken
the ultimate decision to stand by his Jewishness, the ghastly
spectacle of that winter morning must have shaken him to the depths of
his being. It was as if the ground had been cut away from under his
feet. In this sense Herzl could say later that the Dreyfus affair had
made him a Zionist.
He saw all about him the ever fiercer light of a blazing
anti-Semitism. In the French Chamber of Deputies the deputy Denis made
an interpellation on the influence of the Jews in the political
administration of the country. In Vienna a Jewish member of the
Reichstag rose to speak and was howled down. On April 2, 1895, were
held the municipal elections of Vienna, and there was an enormous
increase in the number of anti-Semitic aldermen. Changing plans passed
tumultuously through his mind. He wanted to write a book on "The
Condition of the Jews," consisting of reports on all the important
Jewish colonization enterprises in Russia, Galicia, Hungary, Bohemia,
the Orient, and those more recently founded in Palestine, about which
he had heard from a relative. Alphonse Daudet, the famous French
author with whom he had discussed the whole matter, felt that Herzl
ought to write a novel; it would carry further than a play. "Look at
_Uncle Tom's Cabin_."
He returned to his former plan of a Jewish novel which he had
abandoned when he was called to his assignment on the _Neue Freie
Presse_ in Paris. His friend Kana, the suicide, was no longer to be
the central figure. He was instead to be "the weaker one, the beloved
friend of the hero," and would take his own life after a series of
misfortunes, while the Promised Land was being discovered or rather
founded. When the hero aboard the ship which was taking him to the
Promised Land would receive the moving farewell letter of his friend,
his first reaction after his horror would be one of rage: "Idiot!
Fool! Miserable hopeless weakling! A life lost which belonged to us!"
We can see the Zionist idea arising. Its outlines are still
indefinite, but the decisive idea is clearly visible; only by
migration can this upright human type be given its chance to emerge.
In _The New Ghetto_ Jacob Samuel is a hero because he knows how to
choose an honorable death. Now the death of a useful man is criminally
wasteful. For there are great tasks to be undertaken.
In essence it is the Act and not the Word that confronts us. What last
impulse it was that actually carried Herzl from the Word to the Act it
will be difficult to tell--he himself could not have given the answer.
Little things may play a dramatic role not less effectively than great
ones when a man is so charged with purpose as Herzl then was.
In the early days of May, Herzl addressed to Baron de Hirsch (the
sponsor of Jewish colonization in Argentina), the letter which opens
his Jewish political career. His request for an interview was granted.
Herzl prepared an outline of his position in notes, lest he omit
something important during their conversation.
In these notes he writes: "If the Jews are to be transformed into men
of character in a reasonable period of time, say ten or twenty years,
or even forty--the interval needed by Moses--it cannot be done without
migration. Who is going to decide whether conditions are bad enough
today to warrant our migration? And whether the situation is hopeless?
And the Congress which you (i.e. Hirsch) have convened for the first
of August in a hotel in Switzerland? You will preside over this
Congress of notables. Your call will be heard and answered in every
part of the world.
"And what will be the message given to the men assembled 'You are
pariahs! You must forever tremble at the thought that you are about
to be deprived of your rights and stripped of your possessions. You
will be insulted when you walk in the street. If you are poor, you
suffer doubly. If you are rich, you must conceal the fact. You are not
admitted to any honorable calling, and if you deal in money you are
made the special focus of contempt.... The situation will not change
for the better, but rather for the worse.... There is only way out:
into the Promised Land.'"
Where the Promised Land was to be located, how it was to be acquired,
is not yet mentioned. Herzl does not seem to have thought this
question of decisive significance; it was a scientific matter. It was
the organization of the migration which held his attention, the
political preparations among the Powers, the preliminary changes to be
brought about among the masses by training, by "tremendous propaganda,
the popularization of the idea through newspapers, books, pamphlets,
lectures, pictures, songs."
On the day of his conversation with Baron de Hirsch, Herzl wrote him a
long letter in which he sought to supplement the information and
impressions which had been the result of the meeting. "Please believe
me, the political life of an entire people--particularly when that
people is scattered throughout the entire world--can be set in motion
only with imponderables floating high in the air. Do you know what the
German Reich sprang from? From dreams, songs, fantasies, and
gold-black bands worn by students. And that in a brief period of time.
What? You do not understand imponderables? And what is religion?
Bethink yourself what the Jews have endured for two thousand years for
the sake of this fantasy....
"The exodus to the Promised Land presents itself as a tremendous
enterprise in transportation, unparalleled in the modern world. What
transportation? It is a complex of all human enterprises which we
shall fit Into each other like cog-wheels. And in the very first
stages of the enterprise we shall find employment for the ambitious
younger masses of our people: all the engineers, architects,
technologists, chemists, doctors, and lawyers, those who have emerged
in the last thirty years from the ghetto and who have been moved by
the faith that they can win their bread and a little honor outside the
framework of our Jewish business futilities. Today they must be filled
with despair, they constitute the foundation of a frightful
over-educated proletariat. But it is to these that all my love
belongs, and I am just as set on increasing their number as you are
set on diminishing it. It is in them that I perceive the latent power
of the Jewish people. In brief, my kind."
In this letter of June 3, 1895, Herzl for the first time imparted his
new Jewish policy to a stranger. The writing down of his views, as
well as his conversation on the subject, had had a stronger effect on
himself than on Hirsch. He had obtained a clear vision of the new and
revolutionary character of his proposals. On the same day or shortly
thereafter he began a diary under the title of _The Jewish Question_.
"For some time now, I have been engaged upon a work of indescribable
greatness. I do not know yet whether I shall carry it through. It has
assumed the aspect of some mighty dream. But days and weeks have
passed since it has filled me utterly, it has overflown into my
unconscious self, it accompanies me wherever I go, it broods above all
my commonplace conversation, it peeps over my shoulder at the comical
little journalistic work which I must carry out. It disturbs and
Then suddenly the storm breaks upon him. The clouds open, the thunder
rolls and the lightning flashes about him. A thousand impressions beat
upon him simultaneously, a gigantic vision. He cannot think, he cannot
act, he can only write; breathless, unreflecting, unable to control
himself, unable to exercise the critical faculty lest he dam the
eruption, he dashes down his thoughts on scraps of paper--"Walking,
standing, lying down, in the street, at table, in the night," as if
under unceasing command.
And then doubts rise up from the depths. He dines with well-to-do,
educated, oppressed people who confront the question of anti-Semitism
in a state of complete helplessness: "They do not suspect it, but they
are ghetto-natures, quiet, decent, timid. That is what most of us are.
Will they understand the call to freedom and to manhood? When I left
them my spirits were very low. Again, my plan appeared to me to be
crazy." Then at once he comes to "Today I am again as firm as steel."
He notes the next morning. "The flabbiness of the people I met
yesterday gives me all the more grounds for action."
Clearer and clearer becomes the picture which he has of himself and of
his task in the history of his people. "I picked up once again the
torn thread of the tradition of our people. I lead it into the
"The Promised Land, where we can have hooked noses, black or red
beards, and bow legs, without being despised for it; where we can live
at last as free men on our own soil, and where we can die peacefully
in our own fatherland. There we can expect the award of honor for
great deeds, so that the offensive cry of 'Jew!' may become an
honorable appellation, like German, Englishman, Frenchman--in brief,
like all civilized peoples; so that we may be able to form our state
to educate our people for the tasks which at present still lie beyond
our vision. For surely God would not have kept us alive so long if
there were not assigned to us a specific role in the history of
mankind." He adds: "The Jewish state is a world need." He draws the
logical consequence for himself: "I believe that for me life has ended
and world history begun."
He let the first storm pass over him, yielding to its imperious will,
making no effort to stem its fury lest he interrupt the inspiration.
When it had had its way with him, he took hold of himself again, and
gathered up his energies for the effort to reconstruct everything
logically and in ordered fashion. He was afraid that death might come
upon him before he had succeeded in reducing to transferable form his
historic vision. Thus, in the course of five days, he added to his
diary a sixty-five page pamphlet--in effect the outline of _Der
Judenstaat_--which he called: _Address to the Rothschilds_.
In the address he writes, "I have the solution to the Jewish question.
I know it sounds mad; and at the beginning I shall be called mad more
than once--until the truth of what I am saying is recognized in all
its shattering force."
He wrote to Bismarck asking for an interview in order to submit his
plan for a solution to the Jewish problem but he received no reply.
He wrote to Rabbi Gudemann, Chief Rabbi of Vienna, the occasion being
the anti-Jewish excesses which had occurred in Vienna. "This plan ...
is a reserve against more evil days."
Herzl, in his first visit to England, met and talked with Israel
Zangwill, the novelist, whom he impressed without quite winning him
over. But Zangwill made it possible for him to meet more than a few
prominent, influential Jews of whom he made immediate converts. None
of them wanted to know anything about the Argentine, and on this point
the practical men were united with the dreamers: Palestine alone came
into the picture for a national concentration of the Jews.
After his experiences in England, Herzl resolved to present his plan
to the public at large. The _Address to the Rothschilds_ which was the
first complete writing of his plan, forged in the heat of inspiration
was thoroughly reworked and emerged as his great book _Der
Judenstaat_. Its title was: _The Jewish State: An Attempt at a Modern
Solution of the Jewish Problem. Der Judenstaat_ may properly be called
Herzl's life work; his philosophy of the world, his views on the
state, on the Jewish people, on science and technology, as we have
seen them developing to this, his thirty-fifth year are concentrated
in the book.
The "Jewish State" was published in an edition of three thousand. It
was read by small circles in various European capitals. It was sent to
leading personalities in the press and political circles. It was soon
translated into several languages. Herzl received many letters from
authors and statesmen in which the work was praised. But the general
German press, especially the Jewish-controlled press, took a negative
attitude. A number of journalists alluded to the adventurer who would
like to become Prime Minister or King of the Jews. No mention of the
"Jewish State" appeared in the Neue Freie Presse, then or ever. The
Algemeine Zeitung of Vienna said that Zionism was a madness born of
despair, The Algemeine Zeitung of Munich described it as a fantastic
dream of a feuilletonist whose mind had been unhinged by Jewish
It was upon the Jewish masses that Herzl made a tremendous impression.
He dawned upon Jews of Eastern Europe as a mystic figure rising out of
the past. Little was known of his pamphlet, for it was kept out of the
country by censorship in Russia. Only its title got their attention
and the stories told of Herzl--the Western Jew returning to his
people--gripped their hearts and stirred their imagination. He was
greeted by one of the Galician Zionist societies as the leader who,
like Moses, had returned from Midian to liberate the Jews. Max Nordau,
that devastating critic of art and literature, was swept off his feet
and described the pamphlet as a revelation, Richard Beer Hoffman, the
poet, wrote to Herzl saying "At last there comes again a man, who does
not carry his Judaism with resignation as if it were a burden or a
misfortune, but is proud to be the legal heir of an immemorial
It became clear to Herzl that he would have to take an active part in
the task he had set forth in "The Jewish State." He no longer felt
that he stood alone. He was not inclined to appear on a public
platform. He had the shyness of the man who had always written what he
had to say. He also felt that it would do more harm than good if his
ideas were to be obscured by his personal presence. Through
correspondence he set in motion Zionist activities--in London, in
Paris, in Berlin, in the United States. The amount of letter-writing
he developed was enormous.
He decided that there were three tasks to be undertaken at once. The
first was the organization of the Society of Jews. The second was to
continue diplomatic work in Constantinople and among interested
Powers. The third was the creation of a press to influence public
opinion and to prepare the Jewish masses for the great migration.
Through the Rev. Hechler, a chaplain of the British Embassy in Vienna,
who believed in the Jewish return to the Holy Land, Herzl was
introduced to the Grand Duke of Baden, a Christian of great piety and
influence in political circles.
Herzl intended to use the influence of the Germans to affect the
Sultan and make him more sympathetic to Zionist proposals. Herzl told
the Grand Duke that he would like to have Zionism included within the
cultural sphere of German interests. The Grand Duke said that the
Kaiser seemed inclined to take Jewish migration under German
protection. The great powers were interested in maintaining certain
extra territorial rights within the Turkish Empire. If they had
nationals in any part of the Empire, they claimed the right to protect
them over and above Turkish law. It was, therefore, not the Kaiser's
interest in the Jews, but in extending German jurisdiction within the
Turkish Empire that persuaded him to suggest the adoption of Jews in
Palestine for that purpose. Germany had a special relationship to
Turkey. Most of the western powers were openly discussing the
impending partition of the Turkish Empire, but Germany was opposed to
Herzl was told that the Kaiser was prepared to see him at the head of
a delegation when he visited Palestine, but Herzl was anxious to see
the Kaiser without delay. He suggested an audience before the trip to
Palestine in order that the Kaiser might be in a position to discuss
the Jewish question with the Sultan. The Grand Duke advised Herzl to
see Count Philip Zu Eulenberg, the German Ambassador at Vienna. Herzl
was given an opportunity to see Count Eulenberg in Vienna. Herzl told
him that he wanted His Imperial Majesty to persuade the Sultan to open
negotiations with the Jews.
The Count passed Herzl over to the German Minister of Foreign Affairs,
Von Buelow, who happened to be in Vienna at the same time. Van Buelow
knew a great deal about the Zionist movement. He said that the
difficulty lay in persuading the Sultan to deal with the Jews. He felt
certain that the Sultan could be impressed if he was properly advised
by the Kaiser. A week later Herzl was informed of the Kaiser's
inclination to take the Jews of Palestine under his protection, and
repeated that he would like to see Herzl at the head of a delegation
in Jerusalem, later on.
Herzl was afraid of going further in this direction without having in
existence the financial instrument without which neither negotiations
nor colonization could be carried on. Herzl urged David Wolffsohn and
Jacobus Kahn to proceed with the utmost speed to incorporate the
Jewish Colonial Trust. He foresaw the possibility that a demand might
be made at any time to show the color of his money. Although the
affairs of the Bank were in the hands of Wolffsohn and Kahn, Herzl
himself worried over every detail, urging and driving and complaining
about the slowness of the action. On March 28, 1899 the subscription
lists were opened. Herzl's expectations were not fulfilled. Only about
200,000 shares had been sold, three-quarters of them in Russia. The
Bank could not be opened until it had at least 250,000 paid-up shares.
After a great deal of effort, the minimum was finally obtained and the
Trust was officially opened in time for the opening of the third
Congress in August, 1899.
Herzl addressed a mass meeting in London in October, 1899, under Dr.
Gastner's chairmanship. In his address at this meeting, Herzl said
that he believed the time was not far off when the Jewish people would
be set in motion. He asked the audience to accept his word even if he
could not speak more definitely. "When I return to you again," he
said, "we shall, I hope, be still further on our path." At this
meeting Father Ignatius, a Catholic believer in Zionism, referred to
Herzl "as a new Joshua who had come to fulfill the words of the
Prophet Ezekiel." The effect produced upon the audience was not useful
to Herzl's purposes at that time. He had always tried to discourage
the impression of himself as a Messianic figure. The meeting in London
was the only occasion where he lost his self-mastery in public.
When Herzl met the Foreign Minister, Von Buelow, again, it was in the
presence of the Reich Chancellor, Hohenlohe. At once he perceived a
different nuance in the conversation and a dissonance in comparison
with the conversation he had had with Count Eulenberg. He thought that
the Chancellor and the Foreign Minister were not in agreement with the
Kaiser and did not dare to say it openly; or, on the other hand, they
might be favorably inclined but would not be willing to say it to him.
Finally, Herzl saw the Kaiser in Constantinople. After Herzl had
introduced the subject of his visit, the Kaiser broke in and explained
why the Zionist movement attracted him.
"There are among your people," said the Kaiser, "certain elements whom
it would be a good thing to move to Palestine."
He asked Herzl to submit, in advance, the address he intended to
present to him in Jerusalem. When he was asked what the Kaiser should
place before the Sultan as the gist of the Jewish proposals, Herzl
replied "a chartered company under German protection."
Herzl met the Kaiser, as arranged, in Palestine. Herzl arrived in
Jaffa on October 6, 1898. On a Friday morning, he awaited the coming
of the Kaiser and his entourage on the road that ran by the Colony of
Mikveh Israel. The Kaiser recognized him from a distance. He said a
few words about the weather, about the lack of water in Palestine, and
that it was a land that had a future.
In the petition Herzl later submitted to the Kaiser, many of the
pregnant passages were deleted by the Kaiser's advisers. All passages
that referred specifically to the aims of the Zionist movement, to the
desperate need of the Jewish people and asking for the Kaiser's
protection of a projected Jewish land company for Syria and Palestine,
had been removed. The audience with the Kaiser took place on Monday,
November 2nd. The Kaiser thanked Herzl for the address which, he said,
had interested him extremely. It was the Kaiser's opinion that the
soil was cultivable. What the land lacked was water and shade.
"That we can supply," said Herzl. "It would cost billions, but it will
bring in billions too."
"Well, you certainly have enough money, more than all of us," said the
It was a brief interview. It was vague and seemed to lead nowhere.
Herzl was under the impression that certain influences had been
exerted between the interview in Constantinople and the audience in
When the official German communique was issued, the encounter with
Herzl was hid in a closing paragraph and deprived of all significance.
This is how it read:
"Later the Kaiser received the French Consul, also a Jewish deputation
which presented him with an album of pictures of the Jewish colonies
in Palestine. In reply to an address by the leader of the deputation,
His Majesty remarked he viewed with benevolent interest all efforts
directed to the improvement of agriculture in Palestine as long as
these accorded with the welfare of the Turkish Empire and were
conducted in a spirit of complete respect for the sovereignty of the
It was a sudden descent from hope into a closed road. Herzl refused to
be discouraged. It was hard for him to realize that the Kaiser's
enthusiasm in Constantinople could have cooled off so quickly in
Jerusalem, but it seemed that there was no way to continue contact
with the people he had interested in Germany. He tried to pick up the
broken threads, but, once broken, they could not be revived. The Grand
Duke of Baden remained ever constant and loyal, but he could do
nothing. Herzl never saw the Kaiser again. In a letter to the Grand
Duke, closing this chapter of Zionist history, Herzl said:
"I can only assume that a hope especially dear to me has faded away
and that we shall not achieve our Zionist goal under a German
At about the same time, Herzl met Philip Michael Von Nevlinski, a
descendant of a long line of Polish noblemen who had entered the
diplomatic service and became a diplomatic agent-at-large and a French
journalist. In the first stages, Nevlinski guided Herzl in all the
work he did in Constantinople. When Herzl came to Constantinople in
June, 1896 he was under the impression that Nevlinski had already
arranged an audience with the Sultan. It was not so easy, however. But
whether such an audience had been arranged or not, Herzl was able to
meet, a number of highly-placed Turkish officials, including the Grand
Vizier. At first, the line of action was not clear, but by now Herzl
had formulated his proposals to the Sultan.
Ever since the middle of the nineteenth century, Turkish finances had
been in a shocking condition. The Empire was being badly managed. The
Sultan was regarded as "the sick man of Europe." In 1891 the total
external debt, including unpaid interest, reached the figure of two
hundred and fifty-three million pounds sterling. In 1881 there was a
consolidation of the debt. It was reduced to one hundred and six
million pounds, but the finances of Turkey were placed under the
control of a committee representing the creditors, to whom was
transferred certain domestic Turkish monopolies and the collection of
several categories of taxes. This enabled the European powers to
intervene in the affairs of Turkey. Only by the removal of this
foreign tutelage could Turkey hope to regain its independence. It was
to achieve this end, Herzl thought, that the Jews, and the Jews alone,
could be useful. For this service, he intended to ask for a Jewish
State in Palestine. Herzl followed this line until finally the need
for refunding the Turkish debt disappeared.
But at this time Herzl was not able to obtain an audience with the
Sultan. Nevlinski reported that such an audience had been refused
because the Sultan declined to discuss sovereignty over Palestine.
Doubt was expressed as to the accuracy of the report. Whatever the
fact may be, the first venture of Herzl in Constantinople was not
Herzl moved along the lines that led to Constantinople and Berlin, but
he did not overlook the importance of maintaining contact with Jewish
philanthropies. A letter sent to the Baron de Hirsch came a day after
Herzl went to London where matters had been arranged for him to meet
the leaders of British Jewry. He met Claude Montefiore and Frederick
Mocatte, representatives of the Anglo-Jewish Association. They were
not sympathetic. Herzl fared no better at a banquet given to him by
the Maccabbeans. The personal impression Herzl made was profound. But
there was no practical issue nor did he make any progress during the
time he spent in England. He got Sir Samuel Montagu and Colonel
Goldsmith to agree to cooperate with him in an endeavor to establish a
vassal Jewish State under the sovereignty of Turkey if the Powers
would agree; provided, the Baron de Hirsch Fund placed L10,000,000 at
his disposal for the plan; and Baron Edmund de Rothschild became a
member of the Executive Committee of the proposed Society of Jews.
These conditions were fantastic at that time and Herzl could not meet
He went to Paris and had a talk with Baron Edmund. Baron Edmund was
older than Herzl and felt ill at ease in the presence of a calm critic
of all he had done for Jewish colonization in Palestine. Herzl made
the impression on him of an undisciplined enthusiast. Baron Edmund did
not believe it possible to create political conditions favorable for a
mass immigration of Jews. Even if that could be done, an uncontrolled
mass immigration into Palestine would have the effect of landing tens
of thousands of Jews to be fed and looked after by the small Jewish
community in Palestine. He clung to his idea of slow colonization
attracting no attention and careful not to provoke hostility. Every
reply of Herzl fell upon a closed mind. Baron Edmund's refusal to
cooperate was decisive.
This was a decision of historic significance. It turned Herzl away
from the thought that the Zionist movement should be built upon the
support of Jewish philanthropy. All his hopes in this connection were
dissolved by the contacts he had made in London and in Paris. Baron
Edmund's refusal to cooperate carried with it the refusal of the Baron
de Hirsch Fund and of the circle of leading Jews in London.
Reluctantly, Herzl came to the conclusion that there was only one
reply to this situation. The Jewish masses must be organized for the
support of the Zionist movement.
The organization he had in mind was not a popular democratic
organization. What he meant was to assemble the upper "cadres" to take
charge of the organization of the masses for the great migration. At
the same time, he wanted to prove to the philanthropists that a
popular organization was possible. He felt that they would be greatly
influenced by the development of a widespread popular movement.
Whatever his thoughts were at that time, his decision to turn to the
Jewish masses, to abandon reliance upon the wealthy led to the
organization of the modern Zionist movement.
He organized his followers in Vienna. He was the center of a circle in
which were included the men who later became the members of the first
Zionist Actions Committee. In November 1896 he, for the first time,
addressed a public meeting in Vienna. In this address he did not use
the term "The Jewish State," nor did he use it in most of his public
utterances at that time. He had become cautious. He did not want to
prejudice his political work in Constantinople.
He was still thinking of issuing a newspaper, but there were no funds
for that purpose. The report that he intended to issue a newspaper
drew the attention of a number of personalities and groups in Berlin.
There were the Russian Jewish students, led by Leo Motzkin, and a
group called "Young Israel," headed by Reinrich Loewe. A conference
was held on March 6 and 7, 1897, called by Dr. Osias Thon Willy Bambus
and Nathan Birnbaum. They had come together to talk about a newspaper
but the First Zionist Congress was launched at this meeting Herzl's
proposal for the calling of a General Zionist Conference in Munich was
agreed to. In the preliminary announcement of the calling of this
Conference or Congress, Herzl said:
"The Jewish question must be removed from the control of the
benevolent individual. There must be created a forum before which
everyone acting for the Jewish people should appear and to which he
should be responsible."
Every one of Herzl's ideas was met by protests and public excitement.
The protests were usually launched by Jews. The calling of the
Congress aroused a great deal of indignation in conservative circles.
The Rabbis of Germany protested not only to the holding of the
Congress but also the choice of Munich.
The Congress controversy persuaded Herzl to begin the publication of
the weekly Die Welt. The first issue appeared on June 4, 1897, Herzl
provided the funds. The journal was something new in Jewish life. It
was, in fact, the organ of the Congress. Throughout Herzl's life, Die
Welt served as the exponent of his ideas. At first, Herzl contributed
numerous articles. He sent in a regular weekly review of all
activities connected with the movement. He was responsible for many
unsigned articles and notices. He directed the paper in all its
details, although he refused to figure as its official editor and
publisher. The amount of work he did during the months preceding the
Congress was amazing. He was completely absorbed in every aspect of
the Congress. The man of the pen revealed himself as a first-class man
On August 29, 1897, the First Zionist Congress was assembled, not in
Munich but in Basle, Switzerland. The majority of the delegates to the
First Zionist Congress, drawn to Basle from all parts of the world,
saw Herzl for the first time. The total number of delegates at the
first session was 197.
The first act of the Congress was the adoption of a resolution of
thanks to the Sultan of Turkey. Then Herzl rose and walked over to the
pulpit. It was no longer the elegant Dr. Herzl of Vienna, it was no
longer the easy-going literary man, the critic, the feuilletonist. As
one reporter said: "It was a scion of the House of David, risen from
among the dead, clothed in legend and fantasy and beauty." The first
words uttered by Herzl were: "We are here to lay the foundation stone
of the house which is to shelter the Jewish nation." "We Zionists," he
stressed, "seek for the solution of the Jewish question, not an
international society, but an international discussion.... We have
nothing to do with conspiracy, secret intervention or indirect
methods. We wish to place the question under the control of free
His First Congress address contained the ideas which he had already
expressed in previous speeches and articles, but there was a great
difference between the views in "The Jewish State" and the address
delivered at the first session of the Zionist Congress. The latter is
the carefully considered public statement of one who knew he
represented tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of
followers. His words were not those of a seer, but of a statesman.
Almost as profound was the effect produced. It was at this Congress
that the Basle Program was adopted.... "Zionism seeks to secure for
the Jewish people a publicly recognized, legally secured home (or
homeland) in Palestine."
The second important task of the First Congress was the creation of an
organization. The Congress was declared to be "the chief organ of the
Zionist movement." The basis of electoral right was to be the payment
of a shekel, which at that time was equivalent to twenty-five cents.
There was to be an Executive Committee with its permanent seat in
Vienna. Everything which was to unfold later in Zionism, both in the
way of affirmative forces and inner contradictions, was already
visible or latent in the first Congress. There was discussion of a
bank, of a land redemption fund to be called The National Fund, the
creation of a Hebrew University, and the clashes between practical and
On his return to Vienna, Herzl made the following entry in his diary:
"If I were to sum up the Basle Congress in a single phrase I would
say: In Basle I created the Jewish State. Were I to say this aloud I
would be greeted by universal laughter. But perhaps five years hence,
in any case, certainly fifty years hence, everyone will perceive it.
The state exists as essence in the will-to-the-state of a people, yes,
even in that will in a single powerful person.... The territory is
only the concrete basis, and the state itself, with a territory
beneath it, is still in the nature of an abstract thing ... In Basle I
created the abstraction which, as such, is invisible to the great
All that Herzl did in the political field--his conversations in
Constantinople, his interview with the Grand Duke of Baden in advance
of the holding of the First Congress, was undertaken as author of a
political pamphlet. He was now aware of the fact that he was called
upon to act as President of the World Zionist Organization. It was
difficult to draw a line between the movement and its leader. Herzl
insisted that his leadership in the movement was impersonal and that
now its direction was vested in its instruments--the Congress and the
Actions Committee. But he had all the authority of an accepted leader.
The evolution of Herzl's conception of the Jewish problem since he saw
the degradation of Dreyfus can be measured by a study of the articles
he wrote after the First Congress. He himself was quite aware of the
transformation. He had seen the Jewish people face to face. "Brothers
have found each other again," he said. He wrote with great
appreciation of the quality of the Russian delegates. He said, "They
possess that inner unity which has disappeared from among the
westerners. They are steeped in Jewish national sentiment without
betraying any national narrowness and intolerance. They are not
tortured by the idea of assimilation. They do not assimilate into
other nations, but exert themselves to learn the best in other
peoples. In this way they manage to remain erect and genuine. Looking
on them, we understood where our forefathers got the strength to
endure through the bitterest times."
Immediately after the First Congress, Herzl grappled with his second
task, the creation of the Jewish Colonial Bank. He wrote of the bank
in _Die Welt_ in November, 1898, "The task of the Colonial Bank is to
eliminate philanthropy. The settler on the land who increases its
value by his labor merits more than a gift. He is entitled to credit.
The prospective bank could therefore begin by extending the needed
credits to the colonists; later it would expand into the instrument
for the bringing in of Jews and would supply credits for
transportation, agriculture, commerce and construction."
The seat of the bank was to be London. There were to be two billion
shares at L1 each. The bank was to be directed by men acquainted with
banking affairs, but the movement would be placed in a position to
control its policy. The hopes of Herzl grew from week to week. As he
approached the practical situation he became less and less confident
of the cooperation of men of wealth. Differences arose in the
preliminary discussions as to the scope of the bank. In the first
draft of the Articles of Incorporation the Orient alone was named as
the area of work for the bank. Menachem Ussishkin insisted that the
words "Syria and Palestine" should be substituted. After a great deal
of discussion, the proposals for the formation of the bank were
brought to the second Zionist Congress and the Articles of
Incorporation, as amended, were adopted by acclamation.
Herzl clung to the idea which had come to him when he was thinking of
the Jewish State as a pamphlet, that it might be better for him to
write a novel. The impulse to write such a novel became irresistible
after his visit to Palestine. It was to be called "Altneuland." He
began to write it in 1899. It was completed in April 1902, and
published six months later. It is remarkable that he could write such
a novel while engaged in varied political activities in
Constantinople, in London and in Berlin; and while he had to deal with
the many troublesome internal Zionist problems.
"Altneuland" was a novel with a purpose. It described the Palestine of
the near future as it would develop through the Zionist Movement. It
had the weaknesses of every propaganda novel. The entire work has
something of the state about it and proceeds in the form of scenes
rather than by way of narrative. Each type has a specific outlook.
Most of the characters are portraits of living personalities. It was
his purpose to memorialize his friends and his opponents.
"Altneuland" tells of a Jew who visits Palestine in 1898 and then
comes again in 1923 when he finds the Promised Land developed under
Jewish influence. Its territory lies East and West of the Jordan. The
dead land of 1898 is now thoroughly alive. Its real creators were the
irrigation engineers. Technology had given a new form to labor, a new
social and economic system had been created which is described as
"mutualistic," a huge cooperative, a mediate form between
individualism and collectivism. Haifa had become a world city. Around
the Holy City of Jerusalem, modern suburbs had arisen, shaded
boulevards and parks, institutes of learning, places of amusement,
markets--"a world city in the spirit of the twentieth century." In
this new land, the Arabs live side by side in friendship with the
"Altneuland" did not produce the effect Herzl had expected. Within the
Zionist Movement it did more harm than good. Many of Herzl's friends
were disappointed that the novel should have so little of the Jewish
spirit. It ignored the Hebraic renaissance. The novel evoked the
sharpest criticism from Achad Haam.
* * * * *
While Herzl was immersed in political action, visiting European
capitals, carrying on correspondence with leading persons whose
interest in Zionism he had engaged, and submitting reports to the
Zionist Congress or to the Actions Committee, often facing critical
situations in his struggle with growing Zionist parties, the Zionist
Organization was gradually becoming an accepted institution in Jewish
life. It was the international sounding board for the discussion of
the Jewish question. The Jewish National Fund was founded at the
Fourth Congress held in London in 1900. The Jewish Colonial Trust was
finally established with headquarters in London.
The first Zionist party in the Congress was the Democratic faction led
by Leo Motzkin, but soon there were added the Mizrachi party and the
beginnings of a labor party. Not only Dr. Nordau's stirring addresses,
but many controversies "made" Congresses. The cultural issue was a
Congress perennial. Many discussions also took place around what was
called the issue of "practical" and "political" Zionism. The Russians,
under the leadership of Ussishkin, were all heartily against the
"charter" emphasis and drove with maddening persistence for immediate
work in Palestine. In the course of these debates, continued over the
years, the Congress became a forum for the discussion of international
Jewish problems and developed speakers and theorists of varying
degrees of talent. It also produced men with hobbies. The Jewish
National Fund and the Hebrew University was the hobby of Dr. Herman
Schapiro. Colonization in Cyprus was the hobby of Davis Trietsch, who
created many scenes on the floor of the Congress. Dr. Chaim Weizmann
was not only a leader of the Democratic faction, crossing swords time
and again with Herzl, but devoted much time and thought to the idea of
a Hebrew University. The procedure of the Congress, based on
Continental models, was gradually worked out and became fixed, and
many of the delegates were adepts in the art of procedural sparring.
The language in Congresses used during Herzl's life was German, but
gradually the imperfect use of German by East European Zionists led to
the development of what was called "Congress German." This was a form
of German that was easy to use, because respect for grammar and
pronunciation was not required.
During the Congresses Herzl maintained throughout the role of leader
and moderator. His manner was gracious and he never lost his sense of
dignity. He was capable of sharp retort, but always bore in mind that
it was high duty to hold a balance and to seek compromise rather than
sharp division. He developed it in a most remarkable way on the
platform. His appearances were dramatic. His interventions were
arresting. The man of the writing desk developed as one of the ablest
in the parliamentary arts. After some of the Congresses he had to
retire to a health resort, having exhausted his strength and bringing
on a recurrence of his heart trouble. On a number of occasions his
close friends feared for his life. But after a few weeks of rest he
usually returned stronger than before and with greater determination
to pursue his course, regardless of the consequences to himself.
* * * * *
At this point it is important to refer to his family life. He had
married Julie Naschauer on July 25, 1889. She was the daughter of
wealthy parents and grew up in a conventional social circle. When she
married Herzl he was already a rising young author who was highly
regarded among those with whom she associated. He was attractive,
aristocratic in bearing, a keen conversationalist and had all the
qualities of being a conventional partner of a conventional wife. But
Herzl threw himself into Zionist affairs with such tremendous dynamic
activity and was so completely absorbed in the idea which his thinking
had given birth to, that except for occasional interim periods, his
family played a secondary part in his life ever after he had taken up
the Jewish problems his special task in life. Julie Herzl also
suffered by reason of Herzl's devotion to his own mother. Herzl never
rid himself of his filial dependence which made it very hard for his
wife to understand. They had three children. In 1890 a daughter was
born and named Paula or Pauline. In 1891 his son, Hans, was born,
whose life after his father's death became a serious problem. There
was a third child, a daughter Margaret, known as Trude, who was born
in May 1893. During this period there were many separations from his
family. There were disagreements and reconciliations, but the cup of
unhappiness for Julie Herzl overflowed when Herzl became the official
leader of a public movement. From that time on her home was constantly
overrun with unwelcome visitors. Not only did Herzl give his life to
the movement in the literal sense, but he gave his reserve of funds
and sacrificed the welfare of his family for the sake of the movement
he had brought to life. His domestic affairs as well as his failing
heart, made all the years of Herzl's brief Zionist life pain and
The tragic position of Jews in various parts of Europe, greatly
agitated Herzl during the time he was carrying on negotiations with
the Kaiser and the Sultan. He was constantly being led to the thought
that it would become necessary to find a temporary haven of refuge for
Jews. In 1899 a series of pogroms broke out in Galicia. In his diary
at the time, he had references to England and Cyprus, "we may even
have to consider South Africa or America." But he banished these
thoughts from his mind because he knew that the Zionists would place
serious obstacles in the way of considering any project other than
Palestine. When his hopes with regard to Germany had collapsed,
however, he thought of these alternative proposals again.
* * * * *
On October 22, 1902 a Conference between Joseph Chamberlain, the
Colonial Secretary, and Herzl took place. Chamberlain had been in the
Colonial Office since 1895. He held an influential position in the
councils of the British Government. He was a man of strong will and
political integrity. Herzl submitted his plan for the colonization of
Cyprus and the Sinai Peninsula, which included El Arish--"Jewish
settlers under a Jewish administration."
Chamberlain said that he could speak definitely only about Cyprus. The
Sinai Peninsula came under the jurisdiction of the Foreign Office. As
far as Cyprus was concerned, he believed that it was not promising
because the Greeks and Moslems would object, and it would be his
official duty to side with them. He took a more favorable view,
however, of El Arish. In that connection, it was necessary for Herzl
to talk to Lord Lansdowne of the Foreign Office. A great deal would
depend upon the good-will of Lord Cromer, the British Consul General
in Egypt, and actually the Vice Regent of that country. Through the
good offices of Chamberlain, it became possible for Herzl to meet
Lord Lansdowne a few days later. He was well received and was
listened to with a great deal of attention.
Herzl was asked to submit a written expose. Then he asked for
permission to have Leopold J. Greenberg go to Egypt and confer with
Lord Cromer. Lord Lansdowne said that he would arrange for such a
meeting. Greenberg discussed the matter with Lord Cromer in Cairo.
There were objections raised by both Lord Cromer and the Egyptian
Prime Minister on the ground that an attempted Jewish economy,
undertaken in 1891-2 in the region of ancient Midian, had been a
pitiful failure. There had been political complications and border
disputes with Turkey.
A definitive reply was received by Herzl on December 18, 1902 written
on behalf of Lord Lansdowne by Sir T.H. Sanderson, permanent
Undersecretary. Lord Lansdowne had heard from Lord Cromer, who favored
the sending of a small commission to the Sinai Peninsula to report on
conditions and prospects, but Lord Cromer feared that no sanguine
hopes of success should be entertained, but if the report of the
Commission turned out favorable, the Egyptian Government would
certainly offer liberal terms for Jewish colonization.
On the other hand, however, the Zionists should understand that they
would be expected to meet the cost of a defense corps and to guarantee
the administration. In Lord Cromer's opinion, the most important
question was that of the rights which Herzl expected for the projected
settlement. He wrote: "In your letter of the 12th ult. you remark that
you will become great and promising by the granting of this right of
colonization. Your letter does not make clear what is to be understood
by these words, and what kind of rights the colonists will expect."
Lord Lansdowne also touched on the question of the new citizenship of
the settlers. Herzl had believed that he would have only Englishmen to
deal with, since England had become more and more the master of Egypt.
It was apparent, however, that the Egyptian Government also played an
important part in the discussions.
Lord Cromer confirmed that the Egyptian Government would make it an
essential condition that the new settlers become Turkish subjects
bound by Egyptian law, but while the British occupation continued the
settlers would always be certain of fair treatment.
Herzl was satisfied with this letter and described it as a historic
document. The British Government had recognized Herzl as the Zionist
leader, and the movement represented by him as a negotiating party. He
already saw the "Egyptian province of Judea" under a Jewish Governor,
with its own defense corps under Anglo-Egyptian officers.
As a result of the English negotiations, Lord Rothschild seemed to be
won over by Herzl. The old banker, who had refused two years before to
meet the Zionist leader, now visited him in his hotel. The next task
before Herzl was the organization of the Commission. The Commission
was composed of the South African engineer, Kessler; the Chief
Inspector of the Egyptian Survey Department, Humphreys; Col. Goldsmith
was to report on the land; and Dr. Soskin was to study agricultural
possibilities. Oscar Marmorek was to investigate building and housing
problems and act as General Secretary. Dr. Hillel Jaffe of the Jaffe
Hospital was to deal with the problems of climate and hygiene.
The Commission met with great difficulties. There was opposition by
the Turks. There was misunderstandings between Herzl and Greenberg.
Herzl himself went to Egypt in order to bring the negotiations to a
conclusion and to straighten out difficulties. His intervention in no
way improved the situation. Lord Cromer had become very cool toward
him. He received the general report of the Commission, which observed
that "under existing conditions the land is quite unsuitable for
settlers from European countries, but if sufficient irrigation were
introduced, the agricultural, hygienic and climatic conditions are
such that part of the land, which is at present wilderness, could
support a considerable population."
An application for the concession was made by Herzl on the advice of
Lord Cromer, having as his legal representative a Belgian lawyer of
high standing. The Egyptian Government did not receive with favor the
outline of the concession. Herzl was received on April 23rd by
Chamberlain, who had just returned from his African journey.
Chamberlain listened to the report given by Herzl on the work of the
Commission. Both regarded the report as unfavorable. Then Chamberlain
made this remark:
"On my travels I saw a country for you, Uganda. On the coast it is
hot, but in the interior the climate is excellent for Europeans. You
can plant cotton and sugar. I thought to myself, that is just the
country for Dr. Herzl. But _he_ must have Palestine, and will move
only into its vicinity."
This was the first reference to Uganda which became the center of
attention in Zionist circles.
Herzl was told that the Egyptian Government would reject the plan. It
was found that the area would require five times as much water as had
been first estimated. The Egyptian Government could not permit the
diversion of such a quantity of water from the Nile.
An attempt to have Chamberlain intervene with Egypt was not
successful. "That being the case," said Chamberlain, "What about
Uganda?" Self-administration would be accorded. The Governor could
definitely be a Jew. Although the matter belonged to the Foreign
Office, he would have it transferred under his jurisdiction in the
colonial office. The territory would be the permanent property of a
colonization company created for the purpose. After five years, the
settlers would be given complete autonomy. The name of the settlement
was to be "New Palestine."
Herzl pressed for a reply from the government in order that the
project might be presented to the Zionist Congress on August 14, 1903.
The official proposal came from Sir Clement Hill, permanent head of
the Foreign Office. In this letter it was stated that Lord Landsdowne
had studied the question with the interest which His Majesty's
Government always felt bound to take in every serious plan destined to
better the condition of the Jewish race. The time had been too short
for a closer examination of the plan and for its submission to the
British representative for the East African (Uganda) Protectorate.
"Lord Landsdowne assumes," the letter continues, "that the Bank
desires to send a number of gentlemen to the East African Protectorate
to establish whether there is in that territory land suitable for the
purpose in view; should this prove to be the case, he will be happy to
give them every assistance in bringing them together with His
Majesty's Congress, the conditions under which the settlement could be
carried out. Should an area be found which the bank and His Majesty's
representative consider suitable, and His Majesty's government
consider desirable, Lord Lansdowne will be glad to consider favorably
proposals for the creation of a Jewish colony or settlement under such
conditions as will seem to the members to guarantee the retention of
their national customs...."
The document went on with an offer--subject to the consent of the
relevant officials--of a Jewish governorship and internal autonomy.
This was the first official proposal in connection with the Zionist
movement which Herzl was able to submit to a Zionist Congress. When
the letter of Sir Clement Hill was submitted to the Sixth Zionist
Congress in 1903, it split the Zionist movement wide open. It arrayed
the overwhelming majority of Zionists in Russia against Herzl and he
was called upon to defend himself against a general attack which
preceded the convening of the Congress. When the Congress was convened
in an atmosphere of great excitement and partisan controversy, the
Uganda project was submitted in the form of an official resolution
calling for the appointment of a commission of nine to be sent to
investigate conditions in East Africa. The final decision on the
report of the investigating committee was to be left to a special
Congress. Although the vote showed a majority in favor of the official
resolution--the tally was 295 for, 177 against, and 100 absentees--the
debate on the resolution revealed an overwhelming opposition to the
project. It was regarded as an abandonment of Palestine in favor of a
diversion. After the vote, the Russian delegates left the Congress in
a body. All the opposition delegates left with them and met in
conference to discuss the situation. When Herzl heard of the deep
feeling that prevailed in the conference, he asked for the privilege
of speaking to the opposition. He gave them his solemn assurance that
the Basle Program would be unaffected by the resolution. He swore
fealty to the Basle Program, to Zion and Jerusalem. His speech
revealed the great transformation that had taken place in Herzl's
organic relation to the Zionist movement. The opposition delegates
felt that in spite of Herzl's seeking alternately one or another
substitute for Palestine, his heart responded without reserve to the
appeal of Zion. The opposition reappeared in the Congress the
following day. They exacted assurances that the funds of the Jewish
Colonial Trust, of the Jewish National Fund and the Shekel Income,
should not be used for the commission investigating East Africa, and
that the commission should report to the Greater Actions Committee
before it appeared to submit its report to the Congress.
Herzl's experience at what is called the "Uganda Congress" drew him
nearer to the older Zionists. He realized now that the ultimate goal
could not be reached within the near future, that Uganda was merely a
compromise achievement, providing the field of preparation for a
second attempt to reach Zion. The Congress of 1903 was the climax of
Herzl's career. It was, in effect, the end of his quest.
Later, the East African project became a matter of lesser importance
in the eyes of the English. The English colonists in East Africa
declared their opposition to a Jewish settlement. A Zionist opposition
was organized, led by Menahem Ussishkin, who was not present at the
Uganda Congress. The Charkov Conference of Russian Zionists was
called. Herzl was charged with having violated the Basle Program. The
Charkov Conference disclaimed responsibility for all actions in the
direction of East Africa. It appointed a committee of three to
communicate their demands to Herzl. They asked that he promise that he
would not place before the Congress any territorial projects other
than those connected with Palestine or Syria, and that he would take
East Africa off the agenda. By now Herzl would have been pleased to
let the East African project disappear from the agenda; it was clear
that the English government was not greatly interested and was seeking
a way out; but the devious route of political action, once started,
could not so easily be halted; Herzl found himself chained to a
Throughout his Zionist life, Herzl suffered from a heart ailment
which became more and more acute as he was taken up by the excitements
and activities of the Movement. He became aware of his illness soon
after he had written "The Jewish State." He had premonitions of the
fatal consequences but persisted in carrying the burden of the
Movement himself, consuming all his strength in the process. At
intervals he was forced to take rest cures. On a number of occasions
it was thought that he had reached the end of his strength. When he
was grappling with the Uganda project, York-Steiner, an intimate
friend, wrote of his appearance: "The imposing figure is now stooped,
the face sallow, the eyes--the mirrors of a fine soul--were darkened,
the mouth was drawn in pain and marked by passion."
He was almost at the brink of the grave. In May, an alarming change
for the worse occurred in the condition of his heart muscles. He was
ordered to Franzienbad for six weeks, but the rest did him no good. On
June 3, he left with his wife and several friends for Edlach in
Semmering. He knew that this was his last journey. Then there was a
slight improvement and he returned to his desk. But he rapidly grew
worse. To the faithful Hechler he said, "Give them all my greetings
and tell them that I have given my heart's blood for my people." On
July 3, pneumonia set in and there were signs of approaching
exhaustion. His mother arrived, then his two younger children, Hans
and Trude. At five in the afternoon, his physician who had taken his
eyes off the patient for a moment, heard a deep sigh. When he turned,
he saw Herzl's head sunk on his breast.
In his will Herzl asked that his body be buried next to his father,
"to remain there until the Jewish people will carry my remains to
Palestine." When the Russians entered Vienna in 1945 the remains of
Herzl were still there.
_The Jewish State_
The idea which I have developed in this pamphlet is a very old one: it
is the restoration of the Jewish State.
The world resounds with outcries against the Jews, and these outcries
have awakened the slumbering idea.
I wish it to be clearly understood from the outset that no portion of
my argument is based on a new discovery. I have discovered neither the
historic condition of the Jews nor the means to improve it. In fact,
every man will see for himself that the materials of the structure I
am designing are not only in existence, but actually already in hand.
If, therefore, this attempt to solve the Jewish Question is to be
designated by a single word, let it be said to be the result of an
inescapable conclusion rather than that of a flighty imagination.
I must, in the first place, guard my scheme from being treated as
Utopian by superficial critics who might commit this error of judgment
if I did not warn them. I should obviously have done nothing to be
ashamed of if I had described a Utopia on philanthropic lines; and I
should also, in all probability, have obtained literary success more
easily if I had set forth my plan in the irresponsible guise of a
romantic tale. But this Utopia is far less attractive than any one of
those portrayed by Sir Thomas More and his numerous forerunners and
successors. And I believe that the situation of the Jews in many
countries is grave enough to make such preliminary trifling
An interesting book, "Freiland," by Dr. Theodor Hertzka, which
appeared a few years ago, may serve to mark the distinction I draw
between my conception and a Utopia. His is the ingenious invention of
a modern mind thoroughly schooled in the principles of political
economy, it is as remote from actuality as the Equatorial mountain on
which his dream State lies. "Freiland" is a complicated piece of
mechanism with numerous cogged wheels fitting into each other; but
there is nothing to prove that they can be set in motion. Even
supposing "Freiland societies" were to come into existence, I should
look on the whole thing as a joke.
The present scheme, on the other hand, includes the employment of an
existent propelling force. In consideration of my own inadequacy, I
shall content myself with indicating the cogs and wheels of the
machine to be constructed, and I shall rely on more skilled
mechanicians than myself to put them together.
Everything depends on our propelling force. And what is that force?
The misery of the Jews.
Who would venture to deny its existence? We shall discuss it fully in
the chapter on the causes of Anti-Semitism.
Everybody is familiar with the phenomenon of steam-power, generated by
boiling water, which lifts the kettle-lid. Such tea-kettle phenomena
are the attempts of Zionist and kindred associations to check
I believe that this power, if rightly employed, is powerful enough to
propel a large engine and to move passengers and goods: the engine
having whatever form men may choose to give it.
I am absolutely convinced that I am right, though I doubt whether I
shall live to see myself proved to be so. Those who are the first to
inaugurate this movement will scarcely live to see its glorious close.
But the inauguration of it is enough to give them a feeling of pride
and the joy of spiritual freedom.
I shall not be lavish in artistically elaborated descriptions of my
project, for fear of incurring the suspicion of painting a Utopia. I
anticipate, in any case, that thoughtless scoffers will caricature my
sketch and thus try to weaken its effect. A Jew, intelligent in other
respects, to whom I explained my plan, was of the opinion that "a
Utopia was a project whose future details were represented as already
extant." This is a fallacy. Every Chancellor of the Exchequer
calculates in his Budget estimates with assumed figures, and not only
with such as are based on the average returns of past years, or on
previous revenues in other States, but sometimes with figures for
which there is no precedent whatever; as for example, in instituting a
new tax. Everybody who studies a Budget knows that this is the case.
But even if it were known that the estimates would not be rigidly
adhered to, would such a financial draft be considered Utopian?
But I am expecting more of my readers. I ask the cultivated men whom I
am addressing to set many preconceived ideas entirely aside. I shall
even go so far as to ask those Jews who have most earnestly tried to
solve the Jewish Question to look upon their previous attempts as
mistaken and futile.
I must guard against a danger in setting forth my idea. If I describe
future circumstances with too much caution I shall appear to doubt
their possibility. If, on the other hand, I announce their realization
with too much assurance I shall appear to be describing a chimera.
I shall therefore clearly and emphatically state that I believe in the
practical outcome of my scheme, though without professing to have
discovered the shape it may ultimately take. The Jewish State is
essential to the world; it will therefore be created.
The plan would, of course, seem absurd if a single individual
attempted to do it; but if worked by a number of Jews in co-operation
it would appear perfectly rational, and its accomplishment would
present no difficulties worth mentioning. The idea depends only on the
number of its supporters. Perhaps our ambitious young men, to whom
every road of progress is now closed, seeing in this Jewish State a
bright prospect of freedom, happiness and honors opening to them, will
ensure the propagation of the idea.
I feel that with the publication of this pamphlet my task is done. I
shall not again take up the pen, unless the attacks of noteworthy
antagonists drive me to do so, or it becomes necessary to meet
unforeseen objections and to remove errors.
Am I stating what is not yet the case? Am I before my time? Are the
sufferings of the Jews not yet grave enough? We shall see.
It depends on the Jews themselves whether this political pamphlet
remains for the present a political romance. If the present generation
is too dull to understand it rightly, a future, finer and a better
generation will arise to understand it. The Jews who wish for a State
shall have it, and they will deserve to have it.
_Chapter I. Introduction_
It is astonishing how little insight into the science of economics
many of the men who move in the midst of active life possess. Hence it
is that even Jews faithfully repeat the cry of the Anti-Semites: "We
depend for sustenance on the nations who are our hosts, and if we had
no hosts to support us we should die of starvation." This is a point
that shows how unjust accusations may weaken our self-knowledge. But
what are the true grounds for this statement concerning the nations
that act as "hosts"? Where it is not based on limited physiocratic
views it is founded on the childish error that commodities pass from
hand to hand in continuous rotation. We need not wake from long
slumber, like Rip van Winkle, to realize that the world is
considerably altered by the production of new commodities. The
technical progress made during this wonderful era enables even a man
of most limited intelligence to note with his short-sighted eyes the
appearance of new commodities all around him. The spirit of enterprise
has created them.
Labor without enterprise is the stationary labor of ancient days; and
typical of it is the work of the husbandman, who stands now just where
his progenitors stood a thousand years ago. All our material welfare
has been brought about by men of enterprise. I feel almost ashamed of
writing down so trite a remark. Even if we were a nation of
entrepreneurs--such as absurdly exaggerated accounts make us out to
be--we should not require another nation to live on. We do not depend
on the circulation of old commodities, because we produce new ones.
The world possesses slaves of extraordinary capacity for work, whose
appearance has been fatal to the production of handmade goods: these
slaves are the machines. It is true that workmen are required to set
machinery in motion; but for this we have men in plenty, in
super-abundance. Only those who are ignorant of the conditions of Jews
in many countries of Eastern Europe would venture to assert that Jews
are either unfit or unwilling to perform manual labor.
But I do not wish to take up the cudgels for the Jews in this
pamphlet. It would be useless. Everything rational and everything
sentimental that can possibly be said in their defence has been said
already. If one's hearers are incapable of comprehending them, one is
a preacher in a desert. And if one's hearers are broad and high-minded
enough to have grasped them already, then the sermon is superfluous. I
believe in the ascent of man to higher and yet higher grades of
civilization; but I consider this ascent to be desperately slow. Were
we to wait till average humanity had become as charitably inclined as
was Lessing when he wrote "Nathan the Wise," we should wait beyond our
day, beyond the days of our children, of our grandchildren, and of our
great-grandchildren. But the world's spirit comes to our aid in
This century has given the world a wonderful renaissance by means of
its technical achievements; but at the same time its miraculous
improvements have not been employed in the service of humanity.
Distance has ceased to be an obstacle, yet we complain of insufficient
space. Our great steamships carry us swiftly and surely over hitherto
unvisited seas. Our railways carry us safely into a mountain-world
hitherto tremblingly scaled on foot. Events occurring in countries
undiscovered when Europe confined the Jews in Ghettos are known to us
in the course of an hour. Hence the misery of the Jews is an
anachronism--not because there was a period of enlightenment one
hundred years ago, for that enlightenment reached in reality only the
I believe that electric light was not invented for the purpose of
illuminating the drawing-rooms of a few snobs, but rather for the
purpose of throwing light on some of the dark problems of humanity.
One of these problems, and not the least of them, is the Jewish
question. In solving it we are working not only for ourselves, but
also for many other over-burdened and oppressed beings.
The Jewish question still exists. It would be foolish to deny it. It
is a remnant of the Middle Ages, which civilized nations do not even
yet seem able to shake off, try as they will. They certainly showed a
generous desire to do so when they emancipated us. The Jewish question
exists wherever Jews live in perceptible numbers. Where it does not
exist, it is carried by Jews in the course of their migrations. We
naturally move to those places where we are not persecuted, and there
our presence produces persecution. This is the case in every country,
and will remain so, even in those highly civilized--for instance,
France--until the Jewish question finds a solution on a political
basis. The unfortunate Jews are now carrying the seeds of
Anti-Semitism into England; they have already introduced it into
I believe that I understand Anti-Semitism, which is really a highly
complex movement. I consider it from a Jewish standpoint, yet without
fear or hatred. I believe that I can see what elements there are in it
of vulgar sport, of common trade jealousy, of inherited prejudice, of
religious intolerance, and also of pretended self-defence. I think the
Jewish question is no more a social than a religious one,
notwithstanding that it sometimes takes these and other forms. It is a
national question, which can only be solved by making it a political
world-question to be discussed and settled by the civilized nations of
the world in council.
We are a people--one people.
We have honestly endeavored everywhere to merge ourselves in the
social life of surrounding communities and to preserve the faith of
our fathers. We are not permitted to do so. In vain are we loyal
patriots, our loyalty in some places running to extremes; in vain do
we make the same sacrifices of life and property as our
fellow-citizens; in vain do we strive to increase the fame of our
native land in science and art, or her wealth by trade and commerce.
In countries where we have lived for centuries we are still cried down
as strangers, and often by those whose ancestors were not yet
domiciled in the land where Jews had already had experience of
suffering. The majority may decide which are the strangers; for this,
as indeed every point which arises in the relations between nations,
is a question of might. I do not here surrender any portion of our
prescriptive right, when I make this statement merely in my own name
as an individual. In the world as it now is and for an indefinite
period will probably remain, might precedes right. It is useless,
therefore, for us to be loyal patriots, as were the Huguenots who were
forced to emigrate. If we could only be left in peace....
But I think we shall not be left in peace.
Oppression and persecution cannot exterminate us. No nation on earth
has survived such struggles and sufferings as we have gone through.
Jew-baiting has merely stripped off our weaklings; the strong among us
were invariably true to their race when persecution broke out against
them. This attitude was most clearly apparent in the period
immediately following the emancipation of the Jews. Those Jews who
were advanced intellectually and materially entirely lost the feeling
of belonging to their race. Wherever our political well-being has
lasted for any length of time, we have assimilated with our
surroundings. I think this is not discreditable. Hence, the statesman
who would wish to see a Jewish strain in his nation would have to
provide for the duration of our political well-being; and even a
Bismarck could not do that.
For old prejudices against us still lie deep in the hearts of the
people. He who would have proofs of this need only listen to the
people where they speak with frankness and simplicity: proverb and
fairy-tale are both Anti-Semitic. A nation is everywhere a great
child, which can certainly be educated; but its education would, even
in most favorable circumstances, occupy such a vast amount of time
that we could, as already mentioned, remove our own difficulties by
other means long before the process was accomplished.
Assimilation, by which I understood not only external conformity in
dress, habits, customs, and language, but also identity of feeling and
manner--assimilation of Jews could be effected only by intermarriage.
But the need for mixed marriages would have to be felt by the
majority; their mere recognition by law would certainly not suffice.
The Hungarian Liberals, who have just given legal sanction to mixed
marriages, have made a remarkable mistake which one of the earliest
cases clearly illustrates; a baptized Jew married a Jewess. At the
same time the struggle to obtain the present form of marriage
accentuated distinctions between Jews and Christians, thus hindering
rather than aiding the fusion of races.
Those who really wished to see the Jews disappear through intermixture
with other nations, can only hope to see it come about in one way. The
Jews must previously acquire economic power sufficiently great to
overcome the old social prejudice against them. The aristocracy may
serve as an example of this, for in its ranks occur the
proportionately largest numbers of mixed marriages. The Jewish
families which regild the old nobility with their money become
gradually absorbed. But what form would this phenomenon assume in the
middle classes, where (the Jews being a bourgeois people) the Jewish
question is mainly concentrated? A previous acquisition of power could
be synonymous with that economic supremacy which Jews are already
erroneously declared to possess. And if the power they now possess
creates rage and indignation among the Anti-Semites, what outbreaks
would such an increase of power create? Hence the first step towards
absorption will never be taken, because this step would involve the
subjection of the majority to a hitherto scorned minority, possessing
neither military nor administrative power of its own. I think,
therefore, that the absorption of Jews by means of their prosperity is
unlikely to occur. In countries which now are Anti-Semitic my view
will be approved. In others, where Jews now feel comfortable, it will
probably be violently disputed by them. My happier co-religionists
will not believe me till Jew-baiting teaches them the truth; for the
longer Anti-Semitism lies in abeyance the more fiercely will it break
out. The infiltration of immigrating Jews, attracted to a land by
apparent security, and the ascent in the social scale of native Jews,
combine powerfully to bring about a revolution. Nothing is plainer
than this rational conclusion.
Because I have drawn this conclusion with complete indifference to
everything but the quest of truth, I shall probably be contradicted
and opposed by Jews who are in easy circumstances. Insofar as private
interests alone are held by their anxious or timid possessors to be in
danger, they can safely be ignored, for the concerns of the poor and
oppressed are of greater importance than theirs. But I wish from the
outset to prevent any misconception from arising, particularly the
mistaken notion that my project, if realized, would in the least
degree injure property now held by Jews. I shall therefore explain
everything connected with rights of property very fully. Whereas, if
my plan never becomes anything more than a piece of literature, things
will merely remain as they are. It might more reasonably be objected
that I am giving a handle to Anti-Semitism when I say we are a
people--one people; that I am hindering the assimilation of Jews where
it is about to be consummated, and endangering it where it is an
accomplished fact, insofar as it is possible for a solitary writer to
hinder or endanger anything.
This objection will be especially brought forward in France. It will
probably also be made in other countries, but I shall answer only the
French Jews beforehand, because these afford the most striking example
of my point.
However much I may worship personality--powerful individual
personality in statesmen, inventors, artists, philosophers, or
leaders, as well as the collective personality of a historic group of
human beings, which we call a nation--however much I may worship
personality, I do not regret its disappearance. Whoever can, will, and
must perish, let him perish. But the distinctive nationality of Jews
neither can, will, nor must be destroyed. It cannot be destroyed,
because external enemies consolidate it. It will not be destroyed;
this is shown during two thousand years of appalling suffering. It
must not be destroyed, and that, as a descendant of numberless Jews
who refused to despair, I am trying once more to prove in this
pamphlet. Whole branches of Judaism may wither and fall, but the trunk
Hence, if all or any of the French Jews protest against this scheme on
account of their own "assimilation," my answer is simple: The whole
thing does not concern them at all. They are Jewish Frenchmen, well
and good! This is a private affair for the Jews alone.
The movement towards the organization of the State I am proposing
would, of course, harm Jewish Frenchmen no more than it would harm the
"assimilated" of other countries. It would, on the contrary, be
distinctly to their advantage. For they would no longer be disturbed
in their "chromatic function," as Darwin puts it, but would be able to
assimilate in peace, because the present Anti-Semitism would have been
stopped for ever. They would certainly be credited with being
assimilated to the very depths of their souls, if they stayed where
they were after the new Jewish State, with its superior institutions,
had become a reality.
The "assimilated" would profit even more than Christian citizens by
the departure of faithful Jews; for they would be rid of the
disquieting, incalculable, and unavoidable rivalry of a Jewish
proletariat, driven by poverty and political pressure from place to
place, from land to land. This floating proletariat would become
stationary. Many Christian citizens--whom we call Anti-Semites--can
now offer determined resistance to the immigration of foreign Jews.
Jewish citizens cannot do this, although it affects them far more
directly; for on them they feel first of all the keen competition of
individuals carrying on similar branches of industry, who, in
addition, either introduce Anti-Semitism where it does not exist, or
intensify it where it does. The "assimilated" give expression to this
secret grievance in "philanthropic" undertakings. They organize
emigration societies for wandering Jews. There is a reverse to the
picture which would be comic, if it did not deal with human beings.
For some of these charitable institutions are created not for, but
against, persecuted Jews; they are created to despatch these poor
creatures just as fast and far as possible. And thus, many an apparent
friend of the Jews turns out, on careful inspection, to be nothing
more than an Anti-Semite of Jewish origin, disguised as a
But the attempts at colonization made even by really benevolent men,
interesting attempts though they were, have so far been unsuccessful.
I do not think that this or that man took up the matter merely as an
amusement, that they engaged in the emigration of poor Jews as one
indulges in the racing of horses. The matter was too grave and tragic
for such treatment. These attempts were interesting, in that they
represented on a small scale the practical fore-runners of the idea of
a Jewish State. They were even useful, for out of their mistakes may
be gathered experience for carrying the idea out successfully on a
larger scale. They have, of course, done harm also. The transportation
of Anti-Semitism to new districts, which is the inevitable consequence
of such artificial infiltration, seems to me to be the least of these
evils. Far worse is the circumstance that unsatisfactory results tend
to cast doubts on intelligent men. What is impractical or impossible
to simple argument will remove this doubt from the minds of
intelligent men. What is unpractical or impossible to accomplish on a
small scale, need not necessarily be so on a larger one. A small
enterprise may result in loss under the same conditions which would
make a large one pay. A rivulet cannot even be navigated by boats, the
river into which it flows carries stately iron vessels.
No human being is wealthy or powerful enough to transplant a nation
from one habitation to another. An idea alone can achieve that and
this idea of a State may have the requisite power to do so. The Jews
have dreamt this kingly dream all through the long nights of their
history. "Next year in Jerusalem" is our old phrase. It is now a
question of showing that the dream can be converted into a living
For this, many old, outgrown, confused and limited notions must first
be entirely erased from the minds of men. Dull brains might, for
instance, imagine that this exodus would be from civilized regions
into the desert. That is not the case. It will be carried out in the
midst of civilization. We shall not revert to a lower stage, we shall
rise to a higher one. We shall not dwell in mud huts; we shall build
new more beautiful and more modern houses, and possess them in safety.
We shall not lose our acquired possessions; we shall realize them. We
shall surrender our well earned rights only for better ones. We shall
not sacrifice our beloved customs; we shall find them again. We shall
not leave our old home before the new one is prepared for us. Those
only will depart who are sure thereby to improve their position; those
who are now desperate will go first, after them the poor; next the
prosperous, and, last of all, the wealthy. Those who go in advance
will raise themselves to a higher grade, equal to those whose
representatives will shortly follow. Thus the exodus will be at the
same time an ascent of the class.
The departure of the Jews will involve no economic disturbances, no
crises, no persecutions; in fact, the countries they abandon will
revive to a new period of prosperity. There will be an inner migration
of Christian citizens into the positions evacuated by Jews. The
outgoing current will be gradual, without any disturbance, and its
initial movement will put an end to Anti-Semitism. The Jews will leave
as honored friends, and if some of them return, they will receive the
same favorable welcome and treatment at the hands of civilized nations
as is accorded to all foreign visitors. Their exodus will have no
resemblance to a flight, for it will be a well-regulated movement
under control of public opinion. The movement will not only be
inaugurated with absolute conformity to law, but it cannot even be
carried out without the friendly cooperation of interested
Governments, who would derive considerable benefits from it.
Security for the integrity of the idea and the vigor of its execution
will be found in the creation of a body corporate, or corporation.
This corporation will be called "The Society of Jews." In addition to
it there will be a Jewish company, an economically productive body.
An individual who attempted even to undertake this huge task alone
would be either an impostor or a madman. The personal character of the
members of the corporation will guarantee its integrity, and the
adequate capital of the Company will prove its stability.
These prefatory remarks are merely intended as a hasty reply to the
mass of objections which the very words "Jewish State" are certain to
arouse. Henceforth we shall proceed more slowly to meet further
objections and to explain in detail what has been as yet only
indicated; and we shall try in the interests of this pamphlet to
avoid making it a dull exposition. Short aphoristic chapters will
therefore best answer the purpose.
If I wish to substitute a new building for an old one, I must demolish
before I construct. I shall therefore keep to this natural sequence.
In the first and general part I shall explain my ideas, remove all
prejudices, determine essential political and economic conditions, and
develop the plan.
In the special part, which is divided into three principal sections, I
shall describe its execution. These three sections are: The Jewish
Company, Local Groups, and the Society of Jews. The Society is to be
created first, the Company last; but in this exposition the reverse
order is preferable, because it is the financial soundness of the
enterprise which will chiefly be called into question, and doubts on
this score must be removed first.
In the conclusion, I shall try to meet every further objection that
could possibly be made. My Jewish readers will, I hope, follow me
patiently to the end. Some will naturally make their objections in an
order of succession other than that chosen for their refutation. But
whoever finds his doubts dispelled should give allegiance to the
Although I speak of reason, I am fully aware that reason alone will
not suffice. Old prisoners do not willingly leave their cells. We
shall see whether the youth whom we need are at our command--the
youth, who irresistibly draw on the old, carry them forward on strong
arms, and transform rational motives into enthusiasm.
_II. The Jewish Question_
No one can deny the gravity of the situation of the Jews. Wherever
they live in perceptible numbers, they are more or less persecuted.
Their equality before the law, granted by statute, has become
practically a dead letter. They are debarred from filling even
moderately high positions, either in the army, or in any public or
private capacity. And attempts are made to thrust them out of business
also: "Don't buy from Jews!"
Attacks in Parliaments, in assemblies, in the press, in the pulpit, in
the street, on journeys--for example, their exclusion from certain
hotels--even in places of recreation, become daily more numerous. The
forms of persecutions varying according to the countries and social
circles in which they occur. In Russia, imposts are levied on Jewish
villages; in Rumania, a few persons are put to death; in Germany, they
get a good beating occasionally; in Austria, Anti-Semites exercise
terrorism over all public life; in Algeria, there are travelling
agitators; in Paris, the Jews are shut out of the so-called best
social circles and excluded from clubs. Shades of anti-Jewish feeling
are innumerable. But this is not to be an attempt to make out a
doleful category of Jewish hardships.
I do not intend to arouse sympathetic emotions on our behalf. That
would be foolish, futile, and undignified proceeding. I shall content
myself with putting the following questions to the Jews: Is it not
true that, in countries where we live in perceptible numbers, the
position of Jewish lawyers, doctors, technicians, teachers, and
employees of all descriptions becomes daily more intolerable? Is it
not true, that the Jewish middle classes are seriously threatened? Is
it not true, that the passions of the mob are incited against our
wealthy people? Is it not true, that our poor endure greater
sufferings than any other proletariat? I think that this external
pressure makes itself felt everywhere. In our economically upper
classes it causes discomfort, in our middle classes continual and
grave anxieties, in our lower classes absolute despair.
Everything tends, in fact, to one and the same conclusion, which is
clearly enunciated in that classic Berlin phrase: "_Juden Raus!_" (Out
with the Jews!)
I shall now put the Question in the briefest possible form: Are we to
"get out" now and where to?
Or, may we yet remain? And, how long?
Let us first settle the point of staying where we are. Can we hope for
better days, can we possess our souls in patience, can we wait in
pious resignation till the princes and peoples of this earth are more
mercifully disposed towards us? I say that we cannot hope for a change
in the current of feeling. And why not? Even if we were as near to the
hearts of princes as are their other subjects, they could not protect
us. They would only feel popular hatred by showing us too much favor.
By "too much," I really mean less than is claimed as a right by every
ordinary citizen, or by every race. The nations in whose midst Jews
live are all either covertly or openly Anti-Semitic.
The common people have not, and indeed cannot have, any historic
comprehension. They do not know that the sins of the Middle Ages are
now being visited on the nations of Europe. We are what the Ghetto
made us. We have attained pre-eminence in finance, because mediaeval
conditions drove us to it. The same process is now being repeated. We
are again being forced into finance, now it is the stock exchange, by
being kept out of other branches of economic activity. Being on the
stock exchange, we are consequently exposed afresh to contempt. At the
same time we continue to produce an abundance of mediocre intellects
who find no outlet, and this endangers our social position as much as
does our increasing wealth. Educated Jews without means are now
rapidly becoming Socialists. Hence we are certain to suffer very
severely in the struggle between classes, because we stand in the most
exposed position in the camps of both Socialists and capitalists.
PREVIOUS ATTEMPTS AT A SOLUTION
The artificial means heretofore employed to overcome the troubles of
Jews have been either too petty--such as attempts at colonization--or
attempts to convert the Jews into peasants in their present homes.
What is achieved by transporting a few thousand Jews to another
country? Either they come to grief at once, or prosper, and then their
prosperity creates Anti-Semitism. We have already discussed these
attempts to divert poor Jews to fresh districts. This diversion is
clearly inadequate and futile, if it does not actually defeat its own
ends; for it merely protracts and postpones a solution, and perhaps
even aggravates difficulties.
Whoever would attempt to convert the Jew into a husbandman would be
making an extraordinary mistake. For a peasant is in a historical
category, as proved by his costume which in some countries he has worn
for centuries; and by his tools, which are identical with those used
by his earliest forefathers. His plough is unchanged; he carries the
seed in his apron; mows with the historical scythe, and threshes with
the time-honored flail. But we know that all this can be done by
machinery. The agrarian question is only a question of machinery.
America must conquer Europe, in the same way as large landed
possessions absorb small ones. The peasant is consequently a type
which is in course of extinction. Whenever he is artificially
preserved, it is done on account of the political interests which he
is intended to serve. It is absurd, and indeed impossible, to make
modern peasants on the old pattern. No one is wealthy or powerful
enough to make civilization take a single retrograde step. The mere
preservation of obsolete institutions is a task severe enough to
require the enforcement of all the despotic measures of an
autocratically governed State.
Are we, therefore, to credit Jews who are intelligent with a desire to
become peasants of the old type? One might just as well say to them:
"Here is a cross-bow: now go to war!" What? With a cross-bow, while
the others have rifles and long range guns? Under these circumstances
the Jews are perfectly justified in refusing to stir when people try
to make peasants of them. A cross-bow is a beautiful weapon, which
inspires me with mournful feelings when I have time to devote to them.
But it belongs by rights to a museum.
Now, there certainly are districts to which desperate Jews go out, or
at any rate, are willing to go out and till the soil. And a little
observation shows that these districts--such as the enclave of Hesse
in Germany, and some provinces in Russia--these very districts are the
principal seats of Anti-Semitism.
For the world's reformers, who send the Jews to the plough, forget a
very important person, who has a great deal to say on the matter. This
person is the agriculturist, and the agriculturist is also perfectly
justified. For the tax on land, the risks attached to crops, the
pressure of large proprietors who cheapen labor, and American
competition in particular, combine to make his life hard enough.
Besides, the duties on corn cannot go on increasing indefinitely. Nor
can the manufacturer be allowed to starve; his political influence is,
in fact, in the ascendant, and he must therefore be treated with
All these difficulties are well known, therefore I refer to them only
cursorily. I merely wanted to indicate clearly how futile had been
past attempts--most of them well intentioned--to solve the Jewish
Question. Neither a diversion of the stream, nor an artificial
depression of the intellectual level of our proletariat, will overcome
the difficulty. The supposed infallible expedient of assimilation has
already been dealt with.
We cannot get the better of Anti-Semitism by any of these methods. It
cannot die out so long as its causes are not removed. Are they
CAUSES OF ANTI-SEMITISM
We shall not again touch on those causes which are a result of
temperament, prejudice and narrow views, but shall here restrict
ourselves to political and economical causes alone. Modern
Anti-Semitism is not to be confounded with the religious persecution
of the Jews of former times. It does occasionally take a religious
bias in some countries, but the main current of the aggressive
movement has now changed. In the principal countries where
Anti-Semitism prevails, it does so as a result of the emancipation of
the Jews. When civilized nations awoke to the inhumanity of
discriminatory legislation and enfranchised us, our enfranchisement
came too late. It was no longer possible to remove our disabilities in
our old homes. For we had, curiously enough, developed while in the
Ghetto into a bourgeois people, and we stepped out of it only to enter
into fierce competition with the middle classes. Hence, our
emancipation set us suddenly within this middle-class circle, where we
have a double pressure to sustain, from within and from without. The
Christian bourgeoisie would not be unwilling to cast us as a sacrifice
to Socialism, though that would not greatly improve matters.
At the same time, the equal rights of Jews before the law cannot be
withdrawn where they have once been conceded. Not only because their
withdrawal would be opposed to the spirit of our age, but also because
it would immediately drive all Jews, rich and poor alike, into the
ranks of subversive parties. Nothing effectual can really be done to
our injury. In olden days our jewels were seized. How is our movable
property to be got hold of now? It consists of printed papers which
are locked up somewhere or other in the world, perhaps in the coffers
of Christians. It is, of course, possible to get at shares and
debentures in railways, banks and industrial undertakings of all
descriptions by taxation, and where the progressive income-tax is in
force all our movable property can eventually be laid hold of. But all
these efforts cannot be directed against Jews alone, and wherever they
might nevertheless be made, severe economic crises would be their
immediate consequences, which would be by no means confined to the
Jews who would be the first affected. The very impossibility of
getting at the Jews nourishes and embitters hatred of them.
Anti-Semitism increases day by day and hour by hour among the nations;
indeed, it is bound to increase, because the causes of its growth
continue to exist and cannot be removed. Its remote cause is our loss
of the power of assimilation during the Middle Ages; its immediate
cause is our excessive production of mediocre intellects, who cannot
find an outlet downwards or upwards--that is to say, no wholesome
outlet in either direction. When we sink, we become a revolutionary
proletariat, the subordinate officers of all revolutionary parties;
and at the same time, when we rise, there rises also our terrible
power of the purse.
EFFECTS OF ANTI-SEMITISM
The oppression we endure does not improve us, for we are not a whit
better than ordinary people. It is true that we do not love our
enemies; but he alone who can conquer himself dare reproach us with
that fault. Oppression naturally creates hostility against oppressors,
and our hostility aggravates the pressure. It is impossible to escape
from this eternal circle.
"No!" Some soft-hearted visionaries will say: "No, it is possible!
Possible by means of the ultimate perfection of humanity."
Is it necessary to point to the sentimental folly of this view? He who
would found his hope for improved conditions on the ultimate
perfection of humanity would indeed be relying upon a Utopia!
I referred previously to our "assimilation". I do not for a moment
wish to imply that I desire such an end. Our national character is too
historically famous, and, in spite of every degradation, too fine to
make its annihilation desirable. We might perhaps be able to merge
ourselves entirely into surrounding races, if these were to leave us
in peace for a period of two generations. But they will not leave us
in peace. For a little period they manage to tolerate us, and then
their hostility breaks out again and again. The world is provoked
somehow by our prosperity, because it has for many centuries been
accustomed to consider us as the most contemptible among the
poverty-stricken. In its ignorance and narrowness of heart, it fails
to observe that prosperity weakens our Judaism and extinguishes our
peculiarities. It is only pressure that forces us back to the parent
stem; it is only hatred encompassing us that makes us strangers once
Thus, whether we like it or not, we are now, and shall henceforth
remain, a historic group with unmistakable characteristics common to
We are one people--our enemies have made us one without our consent,
as repeatedly happens in history. Distress binds us together, and,
thus united, we suddenly discover our strength. Yes, we are strong
enough to form a State, and, indeed, a model State. We possess all
human and material resources necessary for the purpose.
This is therefore the appropriate place to give an account of what has
been somewhat roughly termed our "human material." But it would not be
appreciated till the broad lines of the plan, on which everything
depends, has first been marked out.
The whole plan is in its essence perfectly simple, as it must
necessarily be if it is to come within the comprehension of all.
Let the sovereignty be granted us over a portion of the globe large
enough to satisfy the rightful requirements of a nation; the rest we
shall manage for ourselves.
The creation of a new State is neither ridiculous nor impossible. We
have in our day witnessed the process in connection with nations which
were not largely members of the middle class, but poorer, less
educated, and consequently weaker than ourselves. The Governments of
all countries scourged by Anti-Semitism will be keenly interested in
assisting us to obtain the sovereignty we want.
The plan, simple in design, but complicated in execution, will be
carried out by two agencies: The Society of Jews and the Jewish
The Society of Jews will do the preparatory work in the domains of
science and politics, which the Jewish Company will afterwards apply
The Jewish Company will be the liquidating agent of the business
interests of departing Jews, and will organize commerce and trade in
the new country.
We must not imagine the departure of the Jews to be a sudden one. It
will be gradual, continuous, and will cover many decades. The poorest
will go first to cultivate the soil. In accordance with a preconceived
plan, they will construct roads, bridges, railways and telegraph
installations; regulate rivers; and build their own dwellings; their
labor will create trade, trade will create markets and markets will
attract new settlers, for every man will go voluntarily, at his own
expense and his own risk. The labor expended on the land will enhance
its value, and the Jews will soon perceive that a new and permanent
sphere of operation is opening here for that spirit of enterprise
which has heretofore met only with hatred and obloquy.
If we wish to found a State today, we shall not do it in the way which
would have been the only possible one a thousand years ago. It is
foolish to revert to old stages of civilization, as many Zionists
would like to do. Supposing, for example, we were obliged to clear a
country of wild beasts, we should not set about the task in the
fashion of Europeans of the fifth century. We should not take spear
and lance and go out singly in pursuit of bears; we would organize a
large and active hunting party, drive the animals together, and throw
a melinite bomb into their midst.
If we wish to conduct building operations, we shall not plant a mass
of stakes and piles on the shore of a lake, but we shall build as men
build now. Indeed, we shall build in a bolder and more stately style
than was ever adopted before, for we now possess means which men never
The emigrants standing lowest in the economic scale will be slowly
followed by those of a higher grade. Those who at this moment are
living in despair will go first. They will be led by the mediocre
intellects which we produce so superabundantly and which are
This pamphlet will open a general discussion on the Jewish Question,
but that does not mean that there will be any voting on it. Such a
result would ruin the cause from the outset, and dissidents must
remember that allegiance or opposition is entirely voluntary. He who
will not come with us should remain behind.
Let all who are willing to join us, fall in behind our banner and
fight for our cause with voice and pen and deed.
Those Jews who agree with our idea of a State will attach themselves
to the Society, which will thereby be authorized to confer and treat
with Governments in the name of our people. The Society will thus be
acknowledged in its relations with Governments as a State-creating
power. This acknowledgment will practically create the State.
Should the Powers declare themselves willing to admit our sovereignty
over a neutral piece of land, then the Society will enter into
negotiations for the possession of this land. Here two territories
come under consideration, Palestine and Argentine. In both countries
important experiments in colonization have been made, though on the
mistaken principle of a gradual infiltration of Jews. An infiltration
is bound to end badly. It continues till the inevitable moment when
the native population feels itself threatened, and forces the
Government to stop a further influx of Jews. Immigration is
consequently futile unless we have the sovereign right to continue
The Society of Jews will treat with the present masters of the land,
putting itself under the protectorate of the European Powers, if they
prove friendly to the plan. We could offer the present possessors of
the land enormous advantages, assume part of the public debt, build
new roads for traffic, which our presence in the country would render
necessary, and do many other things. The creation of our State would
be beneficial to adjacent countries, because the cultivation of a
strip of land increases the value of its surrounding districts in
PALESTINE OR ARGENTINE?
Shall we choose Palestine or Argentine? We shall take what is given
us, and what is selected by Jewish public opinion. The Society will
determine both these points.
Argentine is one of the most fertile countries in the world, extends
over a vast area, has a sparse population and a mild climate. The
Argentine Republic would derive considerable profit from the cession
of a portion of its territory to us. The present infiltration of Jews
has certainly produced some discontent, and it would be necessary to
enlighten the Republic on the intrinsic difference of our new
Palestine is our ever-memorable historic home. The very name of
Palestine would attract our people with a force of marvellous potency.
If His Majesty the Sultan were to give us Palestine, we could in
return undertake to regulate the whole finances of Turkey. We should
there form a portion of a rampart of Europe against Asia, an outpost
of civilization as opposed to barbarism. We should as a neutral State
remain in contact with all Europe, which would have to guarantee our
existence. The sanctuaries of Christendom would be safeguarded by
assigning to them an extra-territorial status such as is well-known to
the law of nations. We should form a guard of honor about these
sanctuaries, answering for the fulfilment of this duty with our
existence. This guard of honor would be the great symbol of the
solution of the Jewish Question after eighteen centuries of Jewish
DEMAND, MEDIUM, TRADE
I said in the last chapter, "The Jewish Company will organize trade
and commerce in the new country." I shall here insert a few remarks on
A scheme such as mine is gravely imperilled if it is opposed by
"practical" people. Now "practical" people are as a rule nothing more
than men sunk into the groove of daily routine, unable to emerge from
a narrow circle of antiquated ideas. At the same time, their adverse
opinion carries great weight, and can do considerable harm to a new
project, at any rate until this new thing is sufficiently strong to
throw the "practical" people and their mouldy notions to the winds.
In the earliest period of European railway construction some
"practical" people were of the opinion that it was foolish to build
certain lines "because there were not even sufficient passengers to
fill the mail-coaches." They did not realize the truth--which now
seems obvious to us--that travellers do not produce railways, but,
conversely, railways produce travellers, the latent demand, of course,
is taken for granted.
The impossibility of comprehending how trade and commerce are to be
created in a new country which has yet to be acquired and cultivated,
may be classed with those doubts of "practical" persons concerning the
need of railways. A "practical" person would express himself somewhat
in this fashion:
"Granted that the present situation of the Jews is in many places
unendurable, and aggravated day by day; granted that there exists a
desire to emigrate; granted even that the Jews do emigrate to the new
country; how will they earn their living there, and what will they
earn? What are they to live on when there? The business of many people
cannot be artificially organized in a day."
To this I should reply: We have not the slightest intention of
organizing trade artificially, and we should certainly not attempt to
do it in a day. But, though the organization of it may be impossible,
the promotion of it is not. And how is commerce to be encouraged?
Through the medium of a demand. The demand recognized, the medium
created, it will establish itself.
If there is a real earnest demand among Jews for an improvement of
their status; if the medium to be created--the Jewish Company--is
sufficiently powerful, then commerce will extend itself freely in the
_III. The Jewish Company_
The Jewish Company is partly modelled on the lines of a great
land-acquisition company. It might be called a Jewish Chartered
Company, though it cannot exercise sovereign power, and has other than
purely colonial tasks.
The Jewish Company will be founded as a joint stock company subject to
English jurisdiction, framed according to English laws, and under the
protection of England. Its principal center will be London. I cannot
tell yet how large the Company's capital should be; I shall leave that
calculation to our numerous financiers. But to avoid ambiguity, I
shall put it at a thousand million marks (about L50,000,000 or
$200,000,000); it may be either more or less than that sum. The form
of subscription, which will be further elucidated, will determine what
fraction of the whole amount must be paid in at once.
The Jewish Company is an organization with a transitional character.
It is strictly a business undertaking, and must be carefully
distinguished from the Society of Jews.
The Jewish Company will first of all convert into cash all vested
interests left by departing Jews. The method adopted will prevent the
occurrences of crises, secure every man's property, and facilitate
that inner migration of Christian citizens which has already been
The non-transferable goods which come under consideration are
buildings, land, and local business connections. The Jewish Company
will at first take upon itself no more than the necessary negotiations
for effecting the sale of these goods. These Jewish sales will take
place freely and without any serious fall in prices. The Company's
branch establishments in various towns will become the central offices
for the sale of Jewish estates, and will charge only so much
commission on transactions as will ensure their financial stability.
The development of this movement may cause a considerable fall in the
prices of landed property, and may eventually make it impossible to
find a market for it. At this juncture the Company will enter upon
another branch of its functions. It will take over the management of
abandoned estates till such time as it can dispose of them to the
greatest advantage. It will collect house rents, let out land on
lease, and install business managers--these, on account of the
required supervision, being, if possible, tenants also. The Company
will endeavor everywhere to facilitate the acquisition of land by its
tenants, who are Christians. It will, indeed, gradually replace its
own officials in the European branches by Christian substitutes
(lawyers, etc.); and these are not by any means to become servants of
the Jews; they are intended to be free agents to the Christian
population, so that everything may be carried through in equity,
fairness and justice, and without imperilling the internal welfare of
At the same time the Company will sell estates, or, rather, exchange
them. For a house it will offer a house in the new country; and for
land, land in the new country; everything being, if possible,
transferred to the new soil in the same state as it was in the old.
And this transfer will be a great and recognized source of profit to
the Company. "Over there" the houses offered in exchange will be
newer, more beautiful, and more comfortably fitted, and the landed
estates of greater value than those abandoned; but they will cost the
Company comparatively little, because it will have bought the ground
PURCHASE OF LAND
The land which the Society of Jews will have secured by international
law must, of course, be privately acquired.
Provisions made by individuals for their own settlement do not come
within the province of this general account. But the Company will
require large areas for its own needs and ours, and these it must
secure by centralized purchase. It will negotiate principally for the
acquisition of fiscal domains, with the great object of taking
possession of this land "over there" without paying a price too high,
in the same way as it sells here without accepting one too low. A
forcing of prices is not to be considered, because the value of the
land will be created by the Company through its organizing the
settlement in conjunction with the supervising Society of Jews. The
latter will see to it that the enterprise does not become a Panama,
but a Suez.
The Company will sell building sites at reasonable rates to its
officials, and will allow them to mortgage these for the building of
their homes, deducting the amount due from their salaries, or putting
it down to their account as increased emolument. This will, in
addition to the honors they expect, will be additional pay for their
All the immense profits of this speculation in land will go to the
Company, which is bound to receive this indefinite premium in return
for having borne the risk of the undertaking. When the undertaking
involves any risk, the profits must be freely given to those who have
borne it. But under no other circumstances will profits be permitted.
Financial morality consists in the correlation of risk and profit.
The Company will thus barter houses and estates. It must be plain to
any one who has observed the rise in the value of land through its
cultivation that the Company will be bound to gain on its landed
property. This can best be seen in the case of enclosed pieces of land
in town and country. Areas not built over increase in value through
surrounding cultivation. The men who carried out the extension of
Paris made a successful speculation in land which was ingenious in its
simplicity; instead of erecting new buildings in the immediate
vicinity of the last houses of the town, they bought up adjacent
pieces of land, and began to build on the outskirts of these. This
inverse order of construction raised the value of building sites with
extraordinary rapidity, and, after having completed the outer ring,
they built in the middle of the town on these highly valuable sites,
instead of continually erecting houses at the extremity.
Will the Company do its own building, or employ independent
architects? It can, and will, do both. It has, as will be shown
shortly, an immense reserve of working power, which will not be
sweated by the Company, but, transported into brighter and happier
conditions of life, will nevertheless not be expensive. Our geologists
will have looked to the provision of building materials when they
selected the sites of the towns.
What is to be the principle of construction?
The workmen's dwellings (which include the dwellings of all
operatives) will be erected at the Company's own risk and expense.
They will resemble neither those melancholy workmen's barracks of
European towns, not those miserable rows of shanties which surround
factories; they will certainly present a uniform appearance, because
the Company must build cheaply where it provides the building
materials to a great extent; but the detached houses in little gardens
will be united into attractive groups in each locality. The natural
conformation of the land will rouse the ingenuity of our young
architects, whose ideas have not yet been cramped by routine; and even
if the people do not grasp the whole import of the plan, they will at
any rate feel at ease in their loose clusters. The Temple will be
visible from long distances, for it is only our ancient faith that has
kept us together. There will be light, attractive, healthy schools for
children, conducted on the most approved modern systems. There will be
continuation-schools for workmen, which will educate them in greater
technical knowledge and enable them to become intimate with the
working of machinery. There will be places of amusement for the proper
conduct of which the Society of Jews will be responsible.
We are, however, speaking merely of the buildings at present, and not
of what may take place inside of them.
I said that the Company would build workmen's dwellings cheaply. And
cheaply, not only because of the proximity of abundant building
materials, not only because of the Company's proprietorship of the
sites, but also because of the non-payment of workmen.
American farmers work on the system of mutual assistance in the
construction of houses. This childishly amicable system, which is as
clumsy as the block-houses erected, can be developed on much finer
Our unskilled laborers, who will come at first from the great
reservoirs of Russia and Rumania, must, of course, render each other
assistance, in the construction of houses. They will be obliged to
build with wood in the beginning, because iron will not be immediately
available. Later on the original, inadequate, makeshift buildings will
be replaced by superior dwellings.
Our unskilled laborers will first mutually erect these shelters; and
then they will earn their houses as permanent possessions by means of
their work--not immediately, but after three years of good conduct. In
this way we shall secure energetic and able men, and these men will be
practically trained for life by three years of labor under good
I said before that the Company would not have to pay these unskilled
laborers. What will they live on?
On the whole, I am opposed to the Truck system,[A] but it will have to
be applied in the case of these first settlers. The Company provides
for them in so many ways, that it may take charge of their
maintenance. In any case the Truck system will be enforced only during
the first few years, and it will benefit the workmen by preventing
their being exploited by small traders, landlords, etc. The Company
will thus make it impossible from the outset for those of our people,
who are perforce hawkers and peddlers here, to reestablish themselves
in the same trades over there. And the Company will also keep back
drunkards and dissolute men. Then will there be no payment of wages at
all during the first period of settlement. Certainly, there will be
wages for overtime.
THE SEVEN-HOUR DAY
The seven-hour day is the regular working day.
This does not imply that wood-cutting, digging, stone-breaking, and a
hundred other daily tasks should only be performed during seven hours.
Indeed not. There will be fourteen hours of labor, work being done in
shifts of three and a half hours. The organization of all this will be
military in character; there will be commands, promotions and
pensions, the means by which these pensions are provided being
explained further on.
A sound man can do a great deal of concentrated work in three and a
half hours. After an interval of the same length of time--which he
will devote to rest, to his family, and to his education under
guidance--he will be quite fresh for work again. Such labor can do
The seven-hour day thus implies fourteen hours of joint labor--more
than that cannot be put into a day.
I am convinced that it is quite possible to introduce this seven-hour
day with success. The attempts to do so in Belgium and England are
well known. Some advanced political economists who have studied the
subject, declare that a five-hour day would suffice. The Society of
Jews and the Jewish Company will, in any case, make new and extensive
experiments which will benefit the other nations of the world; and if
the seven-hour day proves itself practicable, it will be introduced in
our future State as the legal and regular working day.
Meantime, the Company will always allow its employees the seven-hour
day; and it will always be in a position to do so.
The seven-hour day will be the call to summon our people in every part
of the world. All must come voluntarily, for ours must indeed be the
Whoever works longer than seven hours receives his additional pay for
overtime in cash. Seeing that all his needs are supplied, and that
those members of his family who are unable to work are provided for by
transplanted and centralized philanthropic institutions, he can save a
little money. Thrift, which is already a characteristic of our people,
should be greatly encouraged, because it will, in the first place,
facilitate the rise of individuals to higher grades; and secondly, the
money saved will provide an immense reserve fund for future loans.
Overtime will only be permitted on a doctor's certificate, and must
not exceed three hours. For our men will crowd to work in the new
country, and the world will see then what an industrious people we
I shall not describe the mode of carrying out the Truck system, nor,
in fact, the innumerable details of any process, for fear of confusing
my readers. Women will not be allowed to perform any arduous labor,
nor to work overtime.
Pregnant women will be relieved of all work, and will be supplied with
nourishing food by the Truck. We want our future generations to be
strong men and women.
We shall educate children as we wish from the commencement; but this I
shall not elaborate either.
My remarks on workmen's dwellings, and on unskilled laborers and their
mode of life, are no more Utopian than the rest of my scheme.
Everything I have spoken of is already being put into practice, only
on an utterly small scale, neither noticed nor understood. The
"Assistance par le Travail," which I learned to know and understand in
Paris, was of great service to me in the solution of the Jewish
RELIEF BY LABOR
The system of relief by labor which, is now applied in Paris, in many
other French towns, in England, in Switzerland, and in America, is a
very small thing, but capable of the greatest expansion.
What is the principle of relief by labor?
The principle is: to furnish every needy man with easy, unskilled
work, such as chopping wood, or cutting faggots used for lighting
stoves in Paris households. This is a kind of prison-work before the
crime, done without loss of character. It is meant to prevent men from
taking to crime out of want, by providing them with work and testing
their willingness to do it. Starvation must never be allowed to drive
men to suicide; for such suicides are the deepest disgrace to a
civilization which allows rich men to throw tid-bits to their dogs.
Relief by labor thus provides every one with work. But the system has
a great defect; there is not a sufficiently large demand for the
production of the unskilled workers employed, hence there is a loss to
those who employ them; though it is true that the organization is
philanthropic, and therefore prepared for loss. But here the
benefaction lies only in the difference between the price paid for the
work and its actual value. Instead of giving the beggar two sous, the
institution supplies him with work on which it loses two sous. But at
the same time it converts the good-for-nothing beggar into an honest
breadwinner, who has earned perhaps 1 franc 50 centimes. 150 centimes
for 10! That is to say, the receiver of a benefaction in which there
is nothing humiliating has increased it fifteenfold! That is to say,
fifteen thousand millions for one thousand millions!
The institution certainly loses 10 centimes. But the Jewish Company
will not lose one thousand millions; it will draw enormous profits
from this expenditure.
There is a moral side also. The small system of relief by labor which
exists now preserves rectitude through industry till such time as the
man who is out of work finds a post suitable to his capacities, either
in his old calling or in a new one. He is allowed a few hours daily
for the purpose of looking for a place, in which task the institutions
The defect of these small organizations, so far, has been that they
have been prohibited from entering into competition with timber
merchants, etc. Timber merchants are electors; they would protest, and
would be justified in protesting. Competition with State prison-labor
has also been forbidden, for the State must occupy and feed its
In fact, there is very little room in an old-established society for
the successful application of the system of "Assistance par le
But there is room in a new society.
For, above all, we require enormous numbers of unskilled laborers to
do the first rough work of settlement, to lay down roads, plant trees,
level the ground, construct railroads, telegraph installations, etc.
All this will be carried out in accordance with a large and previously
The labor carried to the new country will naturally create trade. The
first markets will supply only the absolute necessities of life;
cattle, grain, working clothes, tools, arms--to mention just a few
things. These we shall be obliged at first to procure from neighboring
States, or from Europe; but we shall make ourselves independent as
soon as possible. The Jewish entrepreneurs will soon realize the
business prospects that the new country offers.
The army of the Company's officials will gradually introduce more
refined requirements of life. (Officials include officers of our
defensive forces, who will always form about a tenth part of our male
colonists. They will be sufficiently numerous to quell mutinies, for
the majority of our colonists will be peaceably inclined.)
The refined requirements of life introduced by our officials in good
positions will create a correspondingly improved market, which will
continue to better itself. The married man will send for wife and
children, and the single for parents and relatives, as soon as a new
home is established "over there." The Jews who emigrate to the United
States always proceed in this fashion. As soon as one of them has
daily bread and a roof over his head, he sends for his people; for
family ties are strong among us. The Society of Jews and the Jewish
Company will unite in caring for and strengthening the family still
more, not only morally, but materially also. The officials will
receive additional pay on marriage and on the birth of children, for
we need all who are there, and all who will follow.
OTHER CLASSES OF DWELLINGS
I described before only workmen's dwellings built by themselves, and
omitted all mention of other classes of dwellings. These I shall now
touch upon. The Company's architects will build for the poorer classes
of citizens also, being paid in kind or cash; about a hundred
different types of houses will be erected, and, of course, repeated.
These beautiful types will form part of our propaganda. The soundness
of their construction will be guaranteed by the Company, which will,
indeed, gain nothing by selling them to settlers at a fixed sum. And
where will these houses be situated? That will be shown in the section
dealing with Local Groups.
Seeing that the Company does not wish to earn anything on the building
works but only on the land, it will desire as many architects as
possible to build by private contract. This system will increase the
value of landed property, and it will introduce luxury, which serves
many purposes. Luxury encourages arts and industries, paving the way
to a future subdivision of large properties.
Rich Jews who are now obliged carefully to secrete their valuables,
and to hold their dreary banquets behind lowered curtains, will be
able to enjoy their possessions in peace, "over there." If they
cooperate in carrying out this emigration scheme, their capital will
be rehabilitated and will have served to promote an unexampled
undertaking. If in the new settlement rich Jews begin to rebuild their
mansions which are stared at in Europe with such envious eyes, it will
soon become fashionable to live over there in beautiful modern houses.
SOME FORMS OF LIQUIDATION
The Jewish Company is intended to be the receiver and administrator of
the non-transferable goods of the Jews.
Its methods of procedure can be easily imagined in the case of houses
and estates, but what methods will it adopt in the transfer of
Here numberless processes may be found practicable, which cannot all
be enlarged on in this outline. But none of them will present any
great difficulties, for in each case the business proprietor, when he
voluntarily decides to emigrate, will settle with the Company's
officers in his district on the most advantageous form of
This will most easily be arranged in the case of small employers, in
whose trades the personal activity of the proprietor is of chief
importance, while goods and organization are a secondary
consideration. The Company will provide a certain field of operation
for the emigrant's personal activity, and will substitute a piece of
ground, with loan of machinery, for his goods. Jews are known to adapt
themselves with remarkable ease to any form of earning a livelihood,
and they will quickly learn to carry on a new industry. In this way a
number of small traders will become small landholders. The Company
will, in fact, be prepared to sustain what appears to be a loss in
taking over the non-transferable property of the poorest emigrants;
for it will thereby induce the free cultivation of tracts of land,
which raises the value of adjacent tracts.
In medium-sized businesses, where goods and organization equal, or
even exceed, in importance, the personal activity of the manager,
whose larger connection is also non-transferable, various forms of
liquidation are possible. Here comes an opportunity for that inner
migration of Christian citizens into positions evacuated by Jews. The
departing Jew will not lose his personal business credit, but will
carry it with him, and make good use of it in a new country to
establish himself. The Jewish Company will open a current bank account
for him. And he can sell the goodwill of his original business, or
hand it over to the control of managers under supervision of the
Company's officials. The managers may rent the business or buy it,
paying for it by instalments. But the Company acts temporarily as
curator for the emigrants, in superintending, through its officers and
lawyers, the administration of their affairs, and seeing to the proper
collection of all payments.
If a Jew cannot sell his business, or entrust it to a proxy or wish to
give up its personal management, he may stay where he is. The Jews who
stay will be none the worse off, for they will be relieved of the
competition of those who leave, and will no longer hear the
Anti-Semitic cry: "Don't buy from Jews!"
If the emigrating business proprietor wishes to carry on his old
business in the new country, he can make his arrangements for it from
the very commencement. An example will best illustrate my meaning. The
firm X carries on a large business in dry goods. The head of the firm
wishes to emigrate. He begins by setting up a branch establishment in
his future place of residence, and sending out samples of his stock.
The first poor settlers will be his first customers; these will be
followed by emigrants of a higher class, who require superior goods. X
then sends out newer goods, and eventually ships his newest. The
branch establishment begins to pay while the principal one is still in
existence, so that X ends by having two paying business-houses. He
sells his original business or hands it over to his Christian
representative to manage, and goes off to take charge of the new one.
Another and greater example: Y and Son are large coal-traders, with
mines and factories of their own. How is so huge and complex a
property to be liquidated? The mines and everything connected with
them might, in the first place, be bought up by the State, in which
they are situated. In the second place, the Jewish Company might take
them over, paying for them partly in land, partly in cash. A third
method might be the conversion of "Y and Son" into a limited company.
A fourth method might be the continued working of the business under
the original proprietors, who would return at intervals to inspect
their property, as foreigners, and as such, under the protection of
law in every civilized State. All these suggestions are carried out
daily. A fifth and excellent method, and one which might be
particularly profitable, I shall merely indicate, because the existing
examples of its working are at present few, however ready the modern
consciousness may be to adopt them. Y and Son might sell their
enterprise to the collective body of their employees, who would form a
cooperative society, with limited liability, and might perhaps pay the
requisite sum with the help of the State Treasury, which does not
charge high interest.
The employees would then gradually pay off the loan, which either the
Government or the Jewish Company, or even Y and Son, would have
advanced to them.
The Jewish Company will be prepared to conduct the transfer of the
smallest affairs equally with the largest. And whilst the Jews quietly
emigrate and establish their new homes, the Company acts as the great
controlling body, which organizes the departure, takes charge of
deserted possessions, guarantees the proper conduct of the movement
with its own visible and tangible property, and provides permanent
security for those who have already settled.
SECURITIES OF THE COMPANY
What assurance will the Company offer that the abandonment of
countries will not cause their impoverishment and produce economic
I have already mentioned that honest Anti-Semites, whilst preserving
their independence, will combine with our officials in controlling the
transfer of our estates.
But the State revenues might suffer by the loss of a body of
taxpayers, who, though little appreciated as citizens, are highly
valued in finance. The State should, therefore, receive compensation
for this loss. This we offer indirectly by leaving in the country
businesses which we have built up by means of Jewish acumen and Jewish
industry, by letting our Christian fellow-citizens move into our
evacuated positions, and by this facilitating the rise of numbers of
people to greater prosperity so peaceably and in so unparallelled a
manner. The French Revolution had a somewhat similar result, on a
small scale, but it was brought about by bloodshed on the guillotine
in every province of France, and on the battlefields of Europe.
Moreover, inherited and acquired rights were destroyed, and only
cunning buyers enriched themselves by the purchase of State
The Jewish Company will offer to the States that come within its
sphere of activity direct as well as indirect advantages. It will give
Governments the first offer of abandoned Jewish property, and allow
buyers most favorable conditions. Governments, again, will be able to
make use of this friendly appropriation of land for the purpose of
certain social improvements.
The Jewish Company will give every assistance to Governments and
Parliaments in their efforts to direct the inner migration of
The Jewish Company will also pay heavy taxes. Its central office will
be in London, so as to be under the legal protection of a power which
is not at present Anti-Semitic. But the Company, if it is supported
officially and semi-officially, will everywhere provide a broad basis
of taxation. To this end, it will establish taxable branch offices
everywhere. Further, it will pay double duties on the two-fold
transfer of goods which it accomplishes. Even in transactions where
the Company is really nothing more than a real estate agency, it will
temporarily appear as a purchaser, and will be set down as the
momentary possessor in the register of landed property.
These are, of course, purely calculable matters. It will have to be
considered and decided in each place how far the Company can go
without running any risks of failure. And the Company itself will
confer freely with Finance Ministers on the various points at issue.
Ministers will recognize the friendly spirit of our enterprise, and
will consequently offer every facility in their power necessary for
the successful achievement of the great undertaking.
Further and direct profit will accrue to Governments from the
transport of passengers and goods, and where railways are State
property the returns will be immediately recognizable. Where they are
held by private companies, the Jewish Company will receive favorable
terms for transport, in the same way as does every transmitter of
goods on a large scale. Freight and carriage must be made as cheap as
possible for our people, because every traveller will pay his own
expenses. The middle classes will travel with Cook's tickets, the
poorer classes in emigrant trains. The Company might make a good deal
by reductions on passengers and goods; but here, as elsewhere, it must
adhere to its principle of not trying to raise its receipts to a
greater sum than will cover its working expenses.
In many places Jews have control of the transport; and the transport
businesses will be the first needed by the Company and the first to be
liquidated by it. The original owners of these concerns will either
enter the Company's service, or establish themselves independently
"over there." The new arrivals will certainly require their
assistance, and theirs being a paying profession, which they may and
indeed must exercise there to earn a living, numbers of these
enterprising spirits will depart. It is unnecessary to describe all
the business details of this monster expedition. They must be
judiciously evolved out of the original plan by many able men, who
must apply their minds to achieving the best system.
SOME OF THE COMPANY'S ACTIVITIES
Many activities will be interconnected. For example: the Company will
gradually introduce the manufacture of goods into the settlements
which will, of course, be extremely primitive at their inception.
Clothing, linens, and shoes will first of all be manufactured for our
own poor emigrants, who will be provided with new suits of clothing at
the various European emigration centers. They will not receive these
clothes as alms, which might hurt their pride, but in exchange for old
garments: any loss the Company sustains by this transaction will be
booked as a business loss. Those who are absolutely without means will
pay off their debt to the Company by working overtime at a fair rate
Existing emigration societies will be able to give valuable assistance
here, for they will do for the Company's colonists what they did
before for departing Jews. The forms of such cooperation will easily
Even the new clothing of the poor settlers will have the symbolic
meaning. "You are now entering on a new life." The Society of Jews
will see to it that long before the departure and also during the
journey a serious yet festive spirit is fostered by means of prayers,
popular lectures, instruction on the object of the expedition,
instruction on hygienic matters for their new places of residence, and
guidance in regard to their future work. For the Promised Land is the
land of work. On their arrival, the emigrants will be welcomed by our
chief officials with due solemnity, but without foolish exultation,
for the Promised Land will not yet have been conquered. But these poor
people should already see that they are at home.
The clothing industries of the Company will, of course, not produce
their goods without proper organization. The Society of Jews will
obtain from the local branches information about the number,
requirements and date of arrival of the settlers, and will communicate
all such information in good time to the Jewish Company. In this way
it will be possible to provide for them with every precaution.
PROMOTION OF INDUSTRIES
The duties of the Jewish Company and the Society of Jews cannot be
kept strictly apart in this outline. These two great bodies will have
to work constantly in unison, the Company depending on the moral
authority and support of the Society, just as the Society cannot
dispense with the material assistance of the Company. For example, in
the organizing of the clothing industry, the quantity produced will at
first be kept down so as to preserve an equilibrium between supply and
demand; and wherever the Company undertakes the organization of new
industries the same precaution must be exercised.
But individual enterprise must never be checked by the Company with
its superior force. We shall only work collectively when the immense
difficulties of the task demand common action; we shall, wherever
possible, scrupulously respect the rights of the individual. Private
property, which is the economic basis of independence, shall be
developed freely and be respected by us. Our first unskilled laborers
will at once have the opportunity to work their way up to private
The spirit of enterprise must, indeed, be encouraged in every possible
way. Organization of industries will be promoted by a judicious system
of duties, by the employment of cheap raw material, and by the
institution of a board to collect and publish industrial statistics.
But this spirit of enterprise must be wisely encouraged, and risky
speculation must be avoided. Every new industry must be advertised for
a long period before establishment, so as to prevent failure on the
part of those who might wish to start a similar business six months
later. Whenever a new industrial establishment is founded, the Company
should be informed, so that all those interested may obtain
information from it.
Industrialists will be able to make use of centralized labor agencies,
which will only receive a commission large enough to ensure their
continuance. The industrialists might, for example, telegraph for 500
unskilled laborers for three days, three weeks, or three months. The
labor agency would then collect these 500 unskilled laborers from
every possible source, and despatch them at once to carry out the
agricultural or industrial enterprise. Parties of workmen will thus be
systematically drafted from place to place like a body of troops.
These men will, of course, not be sweated, but will work only a
seven-hour day; and, in spite of their change of locality, they will
preserve their organization, work out their term of service, and
receive commands, promotions, and pensions. Some establishments may,
of course, be able to obtain their workmen from other sources, if they
wish, but they will not find it easy to do so. The Society will be
able to prevent the introduction of non-Jewish work-slaves by
boycotting obstinate employers, by obstructing traffic, and by
various other methods. The seven-hour workers will therefore have to
be taken, and we shall thus bring our people gradually, and without
coercion, to adopt the normal seven-hour day.
SETTLEMENT OF SKILLED LABORERS
It is clear that what can be done for unskilled workers can be even
more easily done for skilled laborers. These will work under similar
regulations in the factories, and the central labor agency will
provide them when required.
Independent operatives and small employers, must be carefully taught
on account of the rapid progress of scientific improvements, must
acquire technical knowledge even if no longer very young men, must
study the power of water, and appreciate the forces of electricity.
Independent workers must also be discovered and supplied by the
Society's agency. The local branch will apply, for example, to the
central office: "We want so many carpenters, locksmiths, glaziers,
etc." The central office will publish this demand, and the proper men
will apply there for the work. These would then travel with their
families to the place where they were wanted, and would remain there
without feeling the pressure of undue competition. A permanent and
comfortable home would thus be provided for them.
METHOD OF RAISING CAPITAL
The capital required for establishing the Company was previously put
at what seemed an absurdly high figure. The amount actually necessary
will be fixed by financiers, and will in any case be a very
considerable sum. There are three ways of raising this sum, all of
which the Society will take under consideration. This Society, the
great "Gestor" of the Jews, will be formed by our best and most
upright men, who must not derive any material advantage from their
membership. Although the Society cannot at the outset possess any but
moral authority, this authority will suffice to establish the credit
of the Jewish Company in the nation's eyes. The Jewish Company will be
unable to succeed in its enterprise unless it has received the
Society's sanction; it will thus not be formed of any mere
indiscriminate group of financiers. For the Society will weigh, select
and decide, and will not give its approbation till it is sure of the
existence of a sound basis for the conscientious carrying out of the
scheme. It will not permit experiments with insufficient means, for
this undertaking must succeed at the first attempt. Any initial
failure would compromise the whole idea for many decades to come, or
might even make its realization permanently impossible.
The three methods of raising capital are: (1) Through big banks; (2)
Through small and private banks; (3) Through public subscription.
The first method of raising capital is: Through big banks. The
required sum could then be raised in the shortest possible time among
the large financial groups, after they had discussed the advisability
of the course. The great advantage of this method would be that it
would avoid the necessity of paying in the thousand millions (to keep
to the original figure), immediately in its entirety. A further
advantage would be that the credit of these powerful financiers would
also be of service to the enterprise. Many latent political forces lie
in our financial power, that power which our enemies assert to be so
effective. It might be so, but actually it is not. Poor Jews feel only
the hatred which this financial power provokes; its use in
alleviating their lot as a body, they have not yet felt. The credit of
our great Jewish financiers would have to be placed at the service of
the National Idea. But should these gentlemen, who are quite satisfied
with their lot, feel indisposed to do anything for their fellow-Jews
who are unjustly held responsible for the large possessions of certain
individuals, then the realization of this plan will afford an
opportunity for drawing a clear line of distinction between them and
the rest of Jewry.
The great financiers, moreover, will certainly not be asked to raise
an amount so enormous out of pure philanthropic motives; that would be
expecting too much. The promoters and stock holders of the Jewish
Company are, on the contrary, expected to do a good piece of business,
and they will be able to calculate beforehand what their chances of
success are likely to be. For the Society of Jews will be in
possession of all documents and references which may serve to define
the prospects of the Jewish Company. The Society will in particular
have investigated with exactitude the extent of the new Jewish
movement, so as to provide the Company promoters with thoroughly
reliable information on the amount of support they may expect. The
Society will also supply the Jewish Company with comprehensive modern
Jewish statistics, thus doing the work of what is called in France a
"societe d'etudes," which undertakes all preliminary research previous
to the financing of a great undertaking. Even so, the enterprise may
not receive the valuable assistance of our moneyed magnates. These
might, perhaps, even try to oppose the Jewish movement by means of
their secret agents. Such opposition we shall meet with relentless
Supposing that these magnates are content simply to turn this scheme
down with a smile:
Is it, therefore, done for?
For then the money will be raised in another way--by an appeal to
moderately rich Jews. The smaller Jewish banks would have to be united
in the name of the National Idea against the big banks till they were
gathered into a second and formidable financial force. But,
unfortunately, this would require a great deal of financing at
first--for the L50,000,000 would have to be subscribed in full before
starting work; and, as this sum could only be raised very slowly, all
sorts of banking business would have to be done and loans made during
the first few years. It might even occur that, in the course of all
these transactions, their original object would be forgotten; the
moderately rich Jews would have created a new and large business, and
Jewish emigration would be forgotten.
The notion of raising money in this way is not by any means
impracticable. The experiment of collecting Christian money to form an
opposing force to the big banks has already been tried; that one could
also oppose them with Jewish money has not been thought of until now.
But these financial conflicts would bring about all sorts of crises;
the countries in which they occurred would suffer, and Anti-Semitism
would become rampant.
This method is therefore not to be recommended. I have merely
suggested it, because it comes up in the course of the logical
development of the idea.
I also do not know whether smaller private banks would be willing to
In any case, even the refusal of moderately rich Jews would not put an
end to the scheme. On the contrary, it would then have to be taken up
in real earnest.
The Society of Jews, whose members are not business men, might try to
found the Company on a national subscription.
The Company's capital might be raised, without the intermediary of a
syndicate, by means of direct subscription on the part of the public.
Not only poor Jews, but also Christians who wanted to get rid of them,
would subscribe a small amount to this fund. A new and peculiar form
of the plebiscite would thus be established, whereby each man who
voted for this solution of the Jewish Question would express his
opinion by subscribing a stipulated amount. This stipulation would
produce security. The funds subscribed would only be paid in if their
sum total reached the required amount, otherwise the initial payments
would be returned.
But if the whole of the required sum is raised by popular
subscription, then each little amount would be secured by the great
numbers of other small amounts.
All this would, of course, need the express and definite assistance of
[A] The practice of paying the workman's wages in goods instead of
_IV. Local Groups_
Previous chapters explained only how the emigration scheme might be
carried out without creating any economic disturbance. But so great a
movement cannot take place without inevitably rousing many deep and
powerful feelings. There are old customs, old memories that attach us
to our homes. We have cradles, we have graves, and we alone know how
Jewish hearts cling to the graves. Our cradles we shall carry with
us--they hold our future, rosy and smiling. Our beloved graves we must
abandon--and I think this abandonment will cost us more than any other
sacrifice. But it must be so.
Economic distress, political pressure, and social obloquy have already
driven us from our homes and from our graves. We Jews are even now
constantly shifting from place to place, a strong current actually
carrying us westward over the sea to the United States, where our
presence is also not desired. And where will our presence be desired,
so long as we are a homeless nation?
But we shall give a home to our people. And we shall give it, not by
dragging them ruthlessly out of their sustaining soil, but rather by
transplanting them carefully to a better ground. Just as we wish to
create new political and economic relations, so we shall preserve as
sacred all of the past that is dear to our people's hearts.
Hence a few suggestions must suffice, as this part of my scheme will
most probably be condemned as visionary. Yet even this is possible and
real, though it now appears to be something vague and aimless.
Organization will make of it something rational.
EMIGRATION IN GROUPS
Our people should emigrate in groups of families and friends. But no
man will be forced to join the particular group belonging to his
former place of residence. Each will be able to journey in his chosen
fashion as soon as he has settled his affairs. Seeing that each man
will pay his own expenses by rail and boat, he will naturally travel
by whatever class suits him best. Possibly there will even be no
subdivision for classes on board train and boat, so as to avoid making
the poor feel their position too keenly during their long journey.
Though we are not exactly organizing a pleasure trip, it is as well to
keep them in good humor on the way.
None will travel in penury; on the other hand, all who desire to
travel in luxurious ease will be able to follow their bent. Even under
favorable circumstances, the movement may not touch certain classes of
Jews for several years to come; the intervening period can therefore
be employed in selecting the best modes of organizing the journeys.
Those who are well off can travel in parties if they wish, taking
their personal friends and connections with them. Jews, with the
exception of the richest, have, after all, very little intercourse
with Christians. In some countries their acquaintance with them is
confined to a few spongers, borrowers, and dependents; of a better
class of Christian they know nothing. The Ghetto continues though its
walls are broken down.
The middle classes will therefore make elaborate and careful
preparations for departure. A group of travellers will be formed in
each locality, large towns being divided into districts with a group
in each district, who will communicate by means of representatives
elected for the purpose. This division into districts need not be
strictly adhered to; it is merely intended to alleviate the discomfort
and home-sickness of the poor during their journey outwards. Everybody
is free to travel either alone or attached to any local group he
prefers. The conditions of travel--regulated according to
classes--will apply to all alike. Any sufficiently numerous travelling
party can charter a special train and special boat from the Company.
The Company's housing agency will provide quarters for the poorest on
their arrival. Later on, when more prosperous emigrants follow, their
obvious need for lodgings on first landing will have to be supplied by
hotels built by private enterprise. Some of these more prosperous
colonists will, indeed, have built their houses before becoming
permanent settlers, so that they will merely move from an old home
into a new one.
It would be an affront to our intelligent elements to point out
everything that they have to do. Every man who attaches himself to the
National Idea will know how to spread it, and how to make it real
within his sphere of influence. We shall first of all ask for the
cooperation of our Rabbis.
Every group will have its Rabbi, travelling with his congregation.
Local groups will afterwards form voluntarily about their Rabbi, and
each locality will have its spiritual leader. Our Rabbis, on whom we
especially call, will devote their energies to the service of our
idea, and will inspire their congregations by preaching it from the
pulpit. They will not need to address special meetings for the
purpose; an appeal such as this may be uttered in the synagogue. And
thus it must be done. For we feel our historic affinity only through
the faith of our fathers as we have long ago absorbed the languages of
different nations to an ineradicable degree.
The Rabbis will receive communications regularly from both Society and
Company, and will announce and explain these to their congregations.
Israel will pray for us and for itself.
REPRESENTATIVES OF THE LOCAL GROUPS
The local groups will appoint small committees of representative men
under the Rabbi's presidency, for discussion and settlement of local
Philanthropic institutions will be transferred by their local groups,
each institution remaining "over there" the property of the same set
of people for whom it was originally founded. I think the old
buildings should not be sold, but rather devoted to the assistance of
indigent Christians in the forsaken towns. The local groups will
receive compensation by obtaining free building sites and every
facility for reconstruction in the new country.
This transfer of philanthropic institutions will give another of those
opportunities, which occur at different points of my scheme, for
making an experiment in the service of humanity. Our present
unsystematic private philanthropy does little good in proportion to
the great expenditure it involves. But these institutions can and must
form part of a system by which they will eventually supplement one
another. In a new society these organizations can be evolved out of
our modern consciousness, and may be based on all previous social
experiments. This matter is of great importance to us, on account of
our large number of paupers. The weaker characters among us,
discouraged by external pressure, spoilt by the soft-hearted charity
of our rich men, easily sink until they take to begging.
The Society, supported by the local groups, will give greatest
attention to popular education with regard to this particular. It will
create a fruitful soil for many powers which now wither uselessly
away. Whoever shows a genuine desire to work will be suitably
employed. Beggars will not be endured. Whoever refuses to do anything
as a free man will be sent to the workhouse.
On the other hand, we shall not relegate the old to an almshouse. An
almshouse is one of the cruelest charities which our stupid good
nature ever invented. There our old people die out of pure shame and
mortification. There they are already buried. But we will leave even
to those who stand on the lowest grade of intelligence the consoling
illusion of their utility in the world. We will provide easy tasks for
those who are incapable of physical labor; for we must allow for
diminished vitality in the poor of an already enfeebled generation.
But future generations shall be dealt with otherwise; they shall be
brought up in liberty for a life of liberty.
We will seek to bestow the moral salvation of work on men of every age
and of every class; and thus our people will find their strength again
in the land of the seven-hour day.
PLANS OF THE TOWNS
The local groups will delegate their authorized representatives to
select sites for towns. In the distribution of land every precaution
will be taken to effect a careful transfer with due consideration for
The local groups will have plans of the towns, so that our people may
know beforehand where they are to go, in which towns and in which
houses they are to live. Comprehensive drafts of the building plans
previously referred to will be distributed among the local groups.
The principle of our administration will be strict centralization of
our local groups' autonomy. In this way the transfer will be
accomplished with the minimum of pain.
I do not imagine all this to be easier than it actually is; on the
other hand, people must not imagine it to be more difficult than it is
THE DEPARTURE OF THE MIDDLE CLASSES
The middle classes will involuntarily be drawn into the outgoing
current, for their sons will be officials of the Society or employees
of the Company "over there." Lawyers, doctors, technicians of every
description, young business people--in fact, all Jews who are in
search of opportunities, who now escape from oppression in their
native country to earn a living in foreign lands--will assemble on a
soil so full of fair promise. The daughters of the middle classes will
marry these ambitious men. One of them will send for his wife or
fiancee to come out to him, another for his parents, brothers and
sisters. Members of a new civilization marry young. This will promote
general morality and ensure sturdiness in the new generation; and thus
we shall have no delicate offspring of late marriages, children of
fathers who spent their strength in the struggle for life.
Every middle-class emigrant will draw more of his kind after him.
The bravest will naturally get the best out of the new world.
But there we seem undoubtedly to have touched on the crucial
difficulty of my plan.
Even if we succeeded in opening a world discussion on the Jewish
Question in a serious manner--
Even if this debate led us to a positive conclusion that the Jewish
State were necessary to the world--
Even if the Powers assisted us in acquiring the sovereignty over a
strip of territory--
How are we to transport masses of Jews without undue compulsion from
their present homes to this new country?
Their emigration is surely intended to be voluntary.
THE PHENOMENON OF MULTITUDES
Great exertions will hardly be necessary to spur on the movement.
Anti-Semites provide the requisite impetus. They need only do what
they did before, and then they will create a desire to emigrate where
it did not previously exist, and strengthen it where it existed
before. Jews who now remain in Anti-Semitic countries do so chiefly
because even those among them who are most ignorant of history know
that numerous changes of residence in bygone centuries never brought
them any permanent good. Any land which welcomed the Jews today, and
offered them even fewer advantages than that which the Jewish State
would guarantee them, would immediately attract a great influx of our
people. The poorest, who have nothing to lose would drag themselves
there. But I maintain, and every man may ask himself whether I am not
right, that the pressure weighing on us arouses a desire to emigrate
even among prosperous strata of society. Now our poorest strata alone
would suffice to found a State; these form the strongest human
material for acquiring a land, because a little despair is
indispensable to the formation of a great undertaking.
But when our "desperados" increase the value of the land by their
presence and by the labor they expend on it, they make it at the same
time increasingly attractive as a place of settlement to people who
are better off.
Higher and yet higher strata will feel tempted to go over. The
expedition of the first and poorest settlers will be conducted by
Company and Society conjointly, and will probably be additionally
supported by existing emigration and Zionist societies.
How may a number of people be directed to a particular spot without
being given express orders to go there? There are certain Jewish
benefactors on a large scale who try to alleviate the sufferings of
the Jews by Zionist experiments. To them this problem also presented
itself, and they thought to solve it by giving the emigrants money or
means of employment. Thus the philanthropists said: "We pay these
people to go there."
Such a procedure is utterly wrong, and all the money in the world will
not achieve its purpose.
On the other hand, the Company will say: "We shall not pay them, we
shall let them pay us. We shall merely offer them some inducements to
A fanciful illustration will make my meaning more explicit: One of
those philanthropists (whom we will call "The Baron") and myself both
wish to get a crowd of people on to the plain of Longchamps near
Paris, on a hot Sunday afternoon. The Baron, by promising them 10
francs each, will, for 200,000 francs, bring out 20,000 perspiring and
miserable people, who will curse him for having given them so much
annoyance. Whereas I will offer these 200,000 francs as a prize for
the swiftest racehorse--and then I shall have to put up barriers to
keep the people off Longchamps. They will pay to go in: 1 franc, 5
francs, 20 francs.
The consequence will be that I shall get the half-a-million of people
out there; the President of the Republic will drive up "a la Daumont";
and the crowds will enjoy and amuse themselves. Most of them will
think it an agreeable walk in the open air in spite of heat and dust;
and I shall have made by my 200,000 francs about a million in entrance
money and taxes on gaming. I shall get the same people out there
whenever I like but the Baron will not--not on any account.
I will give a more serious illustration of the phenomenon of
multitudes where they are earning a livelihood. Let any man attempt to
cry through the streets of a town: "Whoever is willing to stand all
day long through a winter's terrible cold, through a summer's
tormenting heat, in an iron hall exposed on all sides, there to
address every passer-by, and to offer him fancy wares, or fish, or
fruit, will receive two florins, or four francs or something similar."
How many people would go to the hall? How many days would they hold
out when hunger drove them there? And if they held out, what energy
would they display in trying to persuade passers-by to buy fish, fruit
and fancy wares?
We shall set about it in a different way. In places where trade is
active, and these places we shall the more easily discover, since we
ourselves direct trade withersoever we wish, in these places we shall
build large halls, and call them markets. These halls might be worse
built and more unwholesome than those above mentioned, and yet people
would stream towards them. But we shall use our best efforts, and we
shall build them better, and make them more beautiful than the first.
And the people, to whom we had promised nothing, because we cannot
promise anything without deceiving them, these excellent, keen
business men will gaily create most active commercial intercourse.
They will harangue the buyers unweariedly; they will stand on their
feet, and scarcely think of fatigue. They will hurry off at dawn, so
as to be first on the spot; they will form unions, cartels, anything
to continue bread-winning undisturbed. And if they find at the end of
the day that all their hard work has produced only 1 florin, 50
kreutzer, or 3 francs, or something similar, they will yet look
forward hopefully to the next day, which may, perhaps, bring them
We have given them hope.
Would any one ask whence the demand comes which creates the market? Is
it really necessary to tell them again?
I pointed out that by means of the system "Assistance par le Travail"
the return could be increased fifteenfold. One million would produce
fifteen millions; and one thousand millions, fifteen thousand
This may be the case on a small scale; is it so on a large one?
Capital surely yields a return diminishing in inverse ratio to its own
growth. Inactive and inert capital yields this diminishing return, but
active capital brings in a marvellously increasing return. Herein lies
the social question.
Am I stating a fact? I call on the richest Jews as witnesses of my
veracity. Why do they carry on so many different industries? Why do
they send men to work underground and to raise coal amid terrible
dangers for meagre pay? I cannot imagine this to be pleasant, even for
the owners of the mines. For I do not believe that capitalists are
heartless, and I do not pretend that I believe it. My desire is not to
accentuate, but to smooth differences.
Is it necessary to illustrate the phenomenon of multitudes, and their
concentration on a particular spot by references to pious pilgrimages?
I do not want to hurt anyone's religious sensibility by words which
might be wrongly interpreted.
I shall merely refer quite briefly to the Mohammedan pilgrimages to
Mecca, the Catholic pilgrimages to Lourdes, and to many other spots
whence men return comforted by their faith, and to the holy Hock at
Trier. Thus we shall also create a center for the deep religious needs
of our people. Our ministers will understand us first, and will be
with us in this.
We shall let every man find salvation "over there" in his own
particular way. Above and before all we shall make room for the
immortal band of our Freethinkers, who are continually making new
conquests for humanity.
No more force will be exercised on any one than is necessary for the
preservation of the State and order; and the requisite force will not
be arbitrarily defined by one or more shifting authorities; it will be
fixed by iron laws.
Now, if the illustrations I gave make people draw the inference that a
multitude can be only temporarily attracted to centers of faith, of
business, or of amusement, the reply to their objection is simple.
Whereas one of these objects by itself would certainly only attract
the masses, all these centers of attraction combined would be
calculated permanently to hold and satisfy them. For all these centers
together form a single, great, long-sought object, which our people
has always longed to attain, for which it has kept itself alive, for
which it has been kept alive by external pressure--a free home! When
the movement commences, we shall draw some men after us and let others
follow; others again will be swept into the current, and the last will
be thrust after us.
These last hesitating settlers will be the worst off, both here and
But the first, who go over with faith, enthusiasm, and courage will
have the best positions.
OUR HUMAN MATERIAL
There are more mistaken notions abroad concerning Jews than concerning
any other people. And we have become so depressed and discouraged by
our historic sufferings that we ourselves repeat and believe these
mistakes. One of these is that we have an immoderate love of business.
Now it is well known that wherever we are permitted to take part in
the rising of classes, we give up our business as soon as possible.
The great majority of Jewish business men give their sons a superior
education. Hence, the so-called "Judaizing" of all intellectual
professions. But even in economically feebler grades of society, our
love of trade is not so predominant as is generally supposed. In the
Eastern countries of Europe there are great numbers of Jews who are
not traders, and who are not afraid of hard work either. The Society
of Jews will be in a position to prepare scientifically accurate
statistics of our human forces. The new tasks and prospects that await
our people in the new country will satisfy our present handicraftsmen,
and will transform many present small traders into manual workers.
A peddler who travels about the country with a heavy pack on his back
is not so contented as his persecutors imagine. The seven-hour day
will convert all of his kind into workmen. They are good,
misunderstood people, who now suffer perhaps more severely than any
others. The Society of Jews will, moreover, busy itself from the
outset with their training as artisans. Their love of gain will be
encouraged in a healthy manner. Jews are of a thrifty and adaptable
disposition, and are qualified for any means of earning a living, and
it will therefore suffice to make small trading unremunerative, to
cause even present peddlers to give it up altogether. This could be
brought about, for example, by encouraging large department stores
which provide all necessaries of life. These general stores are
already crushing small trading in large cities. In a land of new
civilization they will absolutely prevent its existence. The
establishment of these stores is further advantageous, because it
makes the country immediately habitable for people who require more
refined necessaries of life.
Is a reference to the little habits and comforts of the ordinary man
in keeping with the serious nature of this pamphlet?
I think it is in keeping, and, moreover, very important. For these
little habits are the thousand and one fine delicate threads which
together go to make up an unbreakable rope.
Here certain limited notions must be set aside. Whoever has seen
anything of the world knows that just these little daily customs can
easily be transplanted everywhere. The technical contrivances of our
day, which this scheme intends to employ in the service of humanity,
have heretofore been principally used for our little habits. There are
English hotels in Egypt and on the mountain-crest in Switzerland,
Vienna cafes in South Africa, French theatres in Russia, German operas
in America, and best Bavarian beer in Paris.
When we journey out of Egypt again we shall not leave the fleshpots
Every man will find his customs again in the local groups, but they
will be better, more beautiful, and more agreeable than before.
_V. Society of Jews and Jewish State_
This pamphlet is not intended for lawyers. I can therefore touch only
cursorily, as on so many other things, upon my theory of the legal
basis of a State.
I must, nevertheless, lay some stress on my new theory, which could be
maintained, I believe, even in discussion with men well versed in
According to Rousseau's now antiquated view, a State is formed by a
social contract. Rousseau held that: "The conditions of this contract
are so precisely defined by the nature of the agreement that the
slightest alteration would make them null and void. The consequence is
that, even where they are not expressly stated, they are everywhere
identical, and everywhere tacitly accepted and recognized," etc.
A logical and historic refutation of Rousseau's theory was never, nor
is now, difficult, however terrible and far-reaching its effects may
have been. The question whether a social contract with "conditions not
expressly stated, yet unalterable," existed before the framing of a
constitution, is of no practical interest to States under modern forms
of government. The legal relationship between government and citizen
is in any case clearly established now.
But previous to the framing of a constitution, and during the creation
of a new State, these principles assume great practical importance. We
know and see for ourselves that States still continue to be created.
Colonies secede from the mother country. Vassals fall away from their
suzerain; newly opened territories are immediately formed into free
States. It is true that the Jewish State is conceived as a peculiarly
modern structure on unspecified territory. But a State is formed, not
by pieces of land, but rather by a number of men united under
The people is the subjective, land the objective foundation of a
State, and the subjective basis is the more important of the two. One
sovereignty, for example, which has no objective basis at all, is
perhaps the most respected one in the world. I refer to the
sovereignty of the Pope.
The theory of rationality is the one at present accepted in political
science. This theory suffices to justify the creation of a State, and
cannot be historically refuted in the same way as the theory of a
contract. Insofar as I am concerned only with the creation of a Jewish
State, I am well within the limits of the theory of rationality. But
when I touch upon the legal basis of the State, I have exceeded them.
The theories of a divine institution, or of superior power, or of a
contract, and the patriarchal and patrimonial theories do not accord
with modern views. The legal basis of a State is sought either too
much within men (patriarchal theory, and theories of superior force
and contract), or too far above them (divine institution), or too far
below them (objective patrimonial theory). The theory of rationality
leaves this question conveniently and carefully unanswered. But a
question which has seriously occupied doctors of jurisprudence in
every age cannot be an absolutely idle one. As a matter of fact, a
mixture of human and superhuman goes to the making of a State. Some
legal basis is indispensable to explain the somewhat oppressive
relationship in which subjects occasionally stand to rulers. I believe
it is to be found in the _negotiorum gestio_, wherein the body of
citizens represents the _dominus negotiorum_, and the government
represents the _gestor_.
The Romans, with their marvellous sense of justice, produced that
noble masterpiece, the _negotiorum gestio_. When the property of an
oppressed person is in danger, any man may step forward to save it.
This man is the _gestor_, the director of affairs not strictly his
own. He has received no warrant--that is, no human warrant; higher
obligations authorize him to act. The higher obligations may be
formulated in different ways for the State, and so as to respond to
individual degrees of culture attained by a growing general power of
comprehension. The _gestio_ is intended to work for the good of the
_dominus_--the people, to whom the _gestor_ himself belongs.
The _gestor_ administers property of which he is joint-owner. His
joint proprietorship teaches him what urgency would warrant his
intervention, and would demand his leadership in peace or war; but
under no circumstances is his authority valid _qua_ joint
proprietorship. The consent of the numerous joint-owners is even under
most favorable conditions a matter of conjecture.
A State is created by a nation's struggle for existence. In any such
struggle it is impossible to obtain proper authority in circumstantial
fashion beforehand. In fact, any previous attempt to obtain a regular
decision from the majority would probably ruin the undertaking from
the outset. For internal schisms would make the people defenceless
against external dangers. We cannot all be of one mind; the _gestor_
will therefore simply take the leadership into his hands and march in
The action of the _gestor_ of the State is sufficiently warranted if
the common cause is in danger, and the _dominus_ is prevented, either
by want of will or by some other reason, from helping itself.
But the _gestor_ becomes similar to the _dominus_ by his intervention,
and is bound by the agreement _quasi ex contractu_. This is the legal
relationship existing before, or, more correctly, created
simultaneously with the State.
The _gestor_ thus becomes answerable for every form of negligence,
even for the failure of business undertakings, and the neglect of such
affairs as are intimately connected with them, etc. I shall not
further enlarge on the _negotiorum gestio_, but rather leave it to the
State, else it would take us too far from the main subject. One remark
only: "Business management, if it is approved by the owner, is just as
effectual as if it had originally been carried on by his authority."
And how does all this affect our case?
The Jewish people are at present prevented by the Diaspora from
conducting their political affairs themselves. Besides, they are in a
condition of more or less severe distress in many parts of the world.
They need, above all things a _gestor_. This _gestor_ cannot, of
course, be a single individual. Such a one would either make himself
ridiculous, or--seeing that he would appear to be working for his own
The _gestor_ of the Jews must therefore be a body corporate.
And that is the Society of Jews.
THE GESTOR OF THE JEWS
This organ of the national movement, the nature and functions of which
we are at last dealing with, will, in fact, be created before
everything else. Its formation is perfectly simple. It will take shape
among those energetic Jews to whom I imparted my scheme in London.[B]
The Society will have scientific and political tasks, for the founding
of a Jewish State, as I conceive it, presupposes the application of
scientific methods. We cannot journey out of Egypt today in the
primitive fashion of ancient times. We shall previously obtain an
accurate account of our number and strength. The undertaking of that
great and ancient _gestor_ of the Jews in primitive days bears much
the same relation to ours that some wonderful melody bears to a modern
opera. We are playing the same melody with many more violins, flutes,
harps, violoncellos, and bass viols; with electric light, decorations,
choirs, beautiful costumes, and with the first singers of their day.
This pamphlet is intended to open a general discussion on the Jewish
Question. Friends and foes will take part in it; but it will no
longer, I hope, take the form of violent abuse or of sentimental
vindication, but of a debate, practical, large, earnest, and
The Society of Jews will gather all available declarations of
statesmen, parliaments, Jewish communities, societies, whether
expressed in speeches or writings, in meetings, newspapers or books.
Thus the Society will find out for the first time whether the Jews
really wish to go to the Promised Land, and whether they must go
there. Every Jewish community in the world will send contributions to
the Society towards a comprehensive collection of Jewish statistics.
Further tasks, such as investigation by experts of the new country and
its natural resources, the uniform planning of migration and
settlement, preliminary work for legislation and administration,
etc., must be rationally evolved out of the original scheme.
Externally, the Society will attempt, as I explained before in the
general part, to be acknowledged as a State-forming power. The free
assent of many Jews will confer on it the requisite authority in its
relations with Governments.
Internally, that is to say, in its relation with the Jewish people,
the Society will create all the first indispensable institutions; it
will be the nucleus out of which the public institutions of the Jewish
State will later on be developed.
Our first object is, as I said before, supremacy, assured to us by
international law, over a portion of the globe sufficiently large to
satisfy our just requirements.
What is the next step?
THE OCCUPATION OF THE LAND
When nations wandered in historic times, they let chance carry them,
draw them, fling them hither and thither, and like swarms of locusts
they settled down indifferently anywhere. For in historic times the
earth was not known to man. But this modern Jewish migration must
proceed in accordance with scientific principles.
Not more than forty years ago gold-digging was carried on in an
extraordinarily primitive fashion. What adventurous days were those in
California! A report brought desperados together from every quarter of
the earth; they stole pieces of land, robbed each other of gold, and
finally gambled it away, as robbers do.
But today! What is gold-digging like in the Transvaal today?
Adventurous vagabonds are not there; sedate geologists and engineers
alone are on the spot to regulate its gold industry, and to employ
ingenious machinery in separating the ore from surrounding rock.
Little is left to chance now.
Thus we must investigate and take possession of the new Jewish country
by means of every modern expedient.
As soon as we have secured the land, we shall send over a ship, having
on board the representatives of the Society, of the Company, and of
the local groups, who will enter into possession at once.
These men will have three tasks to perform: (1) An accurate,
scientific investigation of all natural resources of the country; (2)
the organization of a strictly centralized administration; (3) the
distribution of land. These tasks intersect one another, and will all
be carried out in conformity with the now familiar object in view.
One thing remains to be explained--namely, how the occupation of land
according to local groups is to take place.
In America the occupation of newly opened territory is set about in
naive fashion. The settlers assemble on the frontier, and at the
appointed time make a simultaneous and violent rush for their
We shall not proceed thus to the new land of the Jews. The lots in
provinces and towns will be sold by auction, and paid for, not in
money, but in work. The general plan will have settled on streets,
bridges, waterworks, etc., necessary for traffic. These will be united
into provinces. Within these provinces sites for towns will be
similarly sold by auction. The local groups will pledge themselves to
carry the business property through, and will cover the cost by means
of self-imposed assessments. The Society will be in a position to
judge whether the local groups are not venturing on sacrifices too
great for their means. The large communities will receive large sites
for their activity. Great sacrifices will thus be rewarded by the
establishment of universities, technical schools, academies, research
institutes, etc., and these Government institutes, which do not have
to be concentrated in the capital, will be distributed over the
The personal interest of the buyers, and, if necessary, the local
assessment, will guarantee the proper working of what has been taken
over. In the same way, as we cannot, and indeed do not wish to
obliterate distinctions between single individuals, so the differences
between local groups will also continue. Everything will shape itself
quite naturally. All acquired rights will be protected, and every new
development will be given sufficient scope.
Our people will be made thoroughly acquainted with all these matters.
We shall not take others unawares or mislead them, any more than we
shall deceive ourselves.
Everything must be systematically settled beforehand. I merely
indicate this scheme: our keenest thinkers will combine in elaborating
it. Every social and technical achievement of our age and of the more
advanced age which will be reached before the slow execution of my
plan is accomplished must be employed for this object. Every valuable
invention which exists now, or lies in the future, must be used. By
these means a country can be occupied and a State founded in a manner
as yet unknown to history, and with possibilities of success such, as
never occurred before.
One of the great commissions which the Society will have to appoint
will be the council of State jurists. These must formulate the best,
that is, the best modern constitution possible. I believe that a good
constitution should be of moderately elastic nature. In another work I
have explained in detail what forms of government I hold to be the
best. I think a democratic monarchy and an aristocratic republic are
the finest forms of a State, because in them the form of State and the
principle of government are opposed to each other, and thus preserve a
true balance of power. I am a staunch supporter of monarchial
institutions, because these allow of a continuous policy, and
represent the interests of a historically famous family born and
educated to rule, whose desires are bound up with the preservation of
the State. But our history has been too long interrupted for us to
attempt direct continuity of ancient constitutional forms, without
exposing ourselves to the charge of absurdity.
A democracy without a sovereign's useful counterpoise is extreme in
appreciation and condemnation, tends to idle discussion in Parliaments,
and produces that objectionable class of men--professional politicians.
Nations are also really not fit for unlimited democracy at present, and
will become less and less fitted for it in the future. For a pure
democracy presupposes a predominance of simple customs, and our customs
become daily more complex with the growth of commerce and increase of
culture. "_Le ressort d'une democratic est la vertu_," said wise
Montesquieu. And where is this virtue, that is to say, this political
virtue, to be met with? I do not believe in our political virtue;
first, because we are no better than the rest of modern humanity; and,
secondly, because freedom will make us show our fighting qualities at
first. I also hold a settling of questions by the referendum to be an
unsatisfactory procedure, because there are no simple political
questions which can be answered merely by Yes and No. The masses are
also more prone even than Parliaments to be led away by heterodox
opinions, and to be swayed by vigorous ranting. It is impossible to
formulate a wise internal or external policy in a popular assembly.
Politics must take shape in the upper strata and work downwards. But
no member of the Jewish State will be oppressed, every man will be
able and will wish to rise in it. Thus a great upward tendency will
pass through our people; every individual by trying to raise himself,
raising also the whole body of citizens. The ascent will take a normal
form, useful to the State and serviceable to the National Idea.
Hence I incline to an aristocratic republic. This would satisfy the
ambitious spirit in our people, which has now degenerated into petty
vanity. Many of the institutions of Venice pass through my mind; but
all that which caused the ruin of Venice must be carefully avoided. We
shall learn from the historic mistakes of others, in the same way as
we learn from our own; for we are a modern nation, and wish to be the
most modern in the world. Our people, who are receiving the new
country from the Society, will also thankfully accept the new
constitution it offers them. Should any opposition manifest itself,
the Society will suppress it. The Society cannot permit the exercise
of its functions to be interpreted by short-sighted or ill-disposed
It might be suggested that our want of a common current language would
present difficulties. We cannot converse with one another in Hebrew.
Who amongst us has a sufficient acquaintance with Hebrew to ask for a
railway ticket in that language? Such a thing cannot be done. Yet the
difficulty is very easily circumvented. Every man can preserve the
language in which his thoughts are at home. Switzerland affords a
conclusive proof of the possibility of a federation of tongues. We
shall remain in the new country what we now are here, and we shall
never cease to cherish with sadness the memory of the native land out
of which we have been driven.
We shall give up using those miserable stunted jargons, those Ghetto
languages which we still employ, for these were the stealthy tongues
of prisoners. Our national teachers will give due attention to this
matter; and the language which proves itself to be of greatest utility
for general intercourse will be adopted without compulsion as our
national tongue. Our community of race is peculiar and unique, for we
are bound together only by the faith of our fathers.
Shall we end by having a theocracy? No, indeed. Faith unites us,
knowledge gives us freedom. We shall therefore prevent any theocratic
tendencies from coming to the fore on the part of our priesthood. We
shall keep our priests within the confines of their temples in the
same way as we shall keep our professional army within the confines of
their barracks. Army and priesthood shall receive honors high as their
valuable functions deserve. But they must not interfere in the
administration of the State which confers distinction upon them, else
they will conjure up difficulties without and within.
Every man will be as free and undisturbed in his faith or his
disbelief as he is in his nationality. And if it should occur that men
of other creeds and different nationalities come to live amongst us,
we should accord them honorable protection and equality before the
law. We have learnt toleration in Europe. This is not sarcastically
said; for the Anti-Semitism of today could only in a very few places
be taken for old religious intolerance. It is for the most part a
movement among civilized nations by which they try to chase away the
spectres of their own past.
When the idea of a State begins to approach realization, the Society
of Jews will appoint a council of jurists to do the preparatory work
of legislation. During the transition period these must act on the
principle that every emigrant Jew is to be judged according to the
laws of the country which he has left. But they must try to bring
about a unification of these various laws to form a modern system of
legislation based on the best portions of previous systems. This might
become a typical codification, embodying all the just social claims of
the present day.
The Jewish State is conceived as a neutral one. It will therefore
require only a professional army, equipped, of course, with every
requisite of modern warfare, to preserve order internally and
We have no flag, and we need one. If we desire to lead many men, we
must raise a symbol above their heads.
I would suggest a white flag, with seven golden stars. The white field
symbolizes our pure new life; the stars are the seven golden hours of
our working-day. For we shall march into the Promised Land carrying
the badge of honor.
RECIPROCITY AND EXTRADITION TREATIES
The new Jewish State must be properly founded, with due regard to our
future honorable position in the world. Therefore every obligation in
the old country must be scrupulously fulfilled before leaving. The
Society of Jews and the Jewish Company will grant cheap passage and
certain advantages in settlement to those only who can present an
official testimonial from the local authorities, certifying that they
have left their affairs in good order.
Every just private claim originating in the abandoned countries will
be heard more readily in the Jewish State than anywhere else. We shall
not wait for reciprocity; we shall act purely for the sake of our own
honor. We shall thus perhaps find, later on, that law courts will be
more willing to hear our claims than now seems to be the case in some
It will be inferred, as a matter of course, from previous remarks,
that we shall deliver up Jewish criminals more readily than any other
State would do, till the time comes when we can enforce our penal code
on the same principles as every other civilized nation does. There
will therefore be a period of transition, during which we shall
receive our criminals only after they have suffered due penalties.
But, having made amends, they will be received without any
restrictions whatever, for our criminals also must enter upon a new
Thus emigration may become to many Jews a crisis with a happy issue.
Bad external circumstances, which ruin many a character, will be
removed, and this change may mean salvation to many who are lost.
Here I should like briefly to relate a story I came across in an
account of the gold mines of Witwatersrand. One day a man came to the
Rand, settled there, tried his hand at various things, with the
exception of gold mining, till he founded an ice factory, which did
well. He soon won universal esteem by his respectability, but after
some years he was suddenly arrested. He had committed some
defalcations as banker in Frankfort, had fled from there, and had
begun a new life under an assumed name. But when he was led away as
prisoner, the most respected people in the place appeared at the
station, bade him a cordial farewell and _au revoir_--for he was
certain to return.
How much this story reveals! A new life can regenerate even criminals,
and we have a proportionately small number of these. Some interesting
statistics on this point are worth reading, entitled "The Criminality
of Jews in Germany," by Dr. P. Nathan, of Berlin, who was commissioned
by the "Society for Defense against Anti-Semitism" to make a
collection of statistics based on official returns. It is true that
this pamphlet, which teems with figures, has been prompted, as many
another "defence," by the error that Anti-Semitism can be refuted by
reasonable arguments. We are probably disliked as much for our gifts
as we are for our faults.
BENEFITS OF THE EMIGRATION OF THE JEWS
I imagine that Governments will, either voluntarily or under pressure
from the Anti-Semites, pay certain attention to this scheme, and they
may perhaps actually receive it here and there with a sympathy which
they will also show to the Society of Jews.
For the emigration which I suggest will not create any economic
crises. Such crises as would follow everywhere in consequence of
Jew-baiting would rather be prevented by the carrying out of my plan.
A great period of prosperity would commence in countries which are
now Anti-Semitic. For there will be, as I have repeatedly said, an
internal migration of Christian citizens into the positions slowly and
systematically evacuated by the Jews. If we are not merely suffered,
but actually assisted to do this, the movement will have a generally
beneficial effect. That is a narrow view, from which one should free
oneself, which sees in the departure of many Jews a consequent
impoverishment of countries. It is different from a departure which is
a result of persecution, for then property is indeed destroyed, as it
is ruined in the confusion of war. Different again is the peaceable
voluntary departure of colonists, wherein everything is carried out
with due consideration for acquired rights, and with absolute
conformity to law, openly and by light of day, under the eyes of the
authorities and the control of public opinion. The emigration of
Christian proletarians to different parts of the world would be
brought to a standstill by the Jewish movement.
The States would have a further advantage in the enormous increase of
their export trade; for, since the emigrant Jews "over there" would
depend for a long time to come on European productions, they would
necessarily have to import them. The local groups would keep up a just
balance, and the customary needs would have to be supplied for a long
time at the accustomed places.
Another, and perhaps one of the greatest advantages, would be the
ensuing social relief. Social dissatisfaction would be appeased during
the twenty or more years which the emigration of the Jews would
occupy, and would in any case be set at rest during the whole
The shape which the social question may take depends entirely on the
development of our technical resources. Steampower concentrated men in
factories about machinery where they were overcrowded, and where they
made one another miserable by overcrowding. Our present enormous,
injudicious, and unsystematic rate of production is the cause of
continual severe crises which ruin both employers and employees. Steam
crowded men together; electricity will probably scatter them again,
and may perhaps bring about a more prosperous condition of the labor
market. In any case our technical inventors, who are the true
benefactors of humanity, will continue their labors after the
commencement of the emigration of the Jews, and they will discover
things as marvellous as those we have already seen, or indeed more
wonderful even than these.
The word "impossible" has ceased to exist in the vocabulary of
technical science. Were a man who lived in the last century to return
to the earth, he would find the life of today full of incomprehensible
magic. Wherever the moderns appear with our inventions, we transform
the desert into a garden. To build a city takes in our time as many
years as it formerly required centuries; America offers endless
examples of this. Distance has ceased to be an obstacle. The spirit of
our age has gathered fabulous treasures into its storehouse. Every day
this wealth increases. A hundred thousand heads are occupied with
speculations and research at every point of the globe, and what any
one discovers belongs the next moment to the whole world. We ourselves
will use and carry on every new attempt in our Jewish land; and just
as we shall introduce the seven-hour day as an experiment for the good
of humanity, so we shall proceed in everything else in the same humane
spirit, making of the new land a land of experiments and a model
After the departure of the Jews the undertakings which they have
created will remain where they originally were found. And the Jewish
spirit of enterprise will not even fail where people welcome it. For
Jewish capitalists will be glad to invest their funds where they are
familiar with surrounding conditions. And whereas Jewish money is now
sent out of countries on account of existing persecutions, and is sunk
in most distant foreign undertakings, it will flow back again in
consequence of this peaceable solution, and will contribute to the
further progress of the countries which the Jews have left.
[B] Dr. Herzl addressed a meeting of the Maccabean Club, at which
Israel Zangwill presided, on November 24th, 1895.
How much has been left unexplained, how many defects, how many harmful
superficialities, and how many useless repetitions in this pamphlet,
which I have thought over so long and so often revised!
But a fair-minded reader, who has sufficient understanding to grasp
the spirit of my words, will not be repelled by these defects. He will
rather be roused thereby to cooperate with his intelligence and energy
in a work which is not one man's task alone, and to improve it.
Have I not explained obvious things and overlooked important
I have tried to meet certain objections; but I know that many more
will be made, based on high grounds and low.
To the first class of objections belongs the remark that the Jews are
not the only people in the world who are in a condition of distress.
Here I would reply that we may as well begin by removing a little of
this misery, even if it should at first be no more than our own.
It might further be said that we ought not to create new distinctions
between people; we ought not to raise fresh barriers, we should rather
make the old disappear. But men who think in this way are amiable
visionaries; and the idea of a native land will still flourish when
the dust of their bones will have vanished tracelessly in the winds.
Universal brotherhood is not even a beautiful dream. Antagonism is
essential to man's greatest efforts.
But the Jews, once settled in their own State, would probably have no
more enemies. As for those who remain behind, since prosperity
enfeebles and causes them to diminish, they would soon disappear
altogether. I think the Jews will always have sufficient enemies, such
as every nation has. But once fixed in their own land, it will no
longer be possible for them to scatter all over the world. The
diaspora cannot be reborn, unless the civilization of the whole earth
should collapse; and such a consummation could be feared by none but
foolish men. Our present civilization possesses weapons powerful
enough for its self-defence.
Innumerable objections will be based on low grounds, for there are
more low men than noble in this world. I have tried to remove some of
these narrow-minded notions; and whoever is willing to fall in behind
our white flag with its seven stars, must assist in this campaign of
enlightenment. Perhaps we shall have to fight first of all against
many an evil-disposed, narrow-hearted, short-sighted member of our own
Again, people will say that I am furnishing the Anti-Semites with
weapons. Why so? Because I admit the truth? Because I do not maintain
that there are none but excellent men against us?
Will not people say that I am showing our enemies the way to injure
us? This I absolutely dispute. My proposal could only be carried out
with the free consent of a majority of Jews. Action may be taken
against individuals or even against groups of the most powerful Jews,
but Governments will never take action against all Jews. The equal
rights of the Jew before the law cannot be withdrawn where they have
once been conceded; for the first attempt at withdrawal would
immediately drive all Jews, rich and poor alike, into the ranks of
revolutionary parties. The beginning of any official acts of injustice
against the Jews invariably brings about economic crises. Therefore,
no weapons can be effectually used against us, because these injure
the hands that wield them. Meantime hatred grows apace. The rich do
not feel it much, but our poor do. Let us ask our poor, who have been
more severely proletarized since the last removal of Anti-Semitism
than ever before.
Some of our prosperous men may say that the pressure is not yet severe
enough to justify emigration, and that every forcible expulsion shows
how unwilling our people are to depart. True, because they do not know
where to go; because they only pass from one trouble into another. But
we are showing them the way to the Promised Land; and the splendid
force of enthusiasm must fight against the terrible force of habit.
Persecutions are no longer so malignant as they were in the Middle
Ages? True, but our sensitiveness has increased, so that we feel no
diminution in our sufferings; prolonged persecution has overstrained
Will people say, again, that our enterprise is hopeless, because even
if we obtained the land with supremacy over it, the poor only would go
with us? It is precisely the poorest whom we need at first. Only the
desperate make good conquerors.
Will some one say: Were it feasible it would have been done long ago?
It has never yet been possible; now it is possible. A hundred--or even
fifty years ago it would have been nothing more than a dream. Today it
may become a reality. Our rich, who have a pleasurable acquaintance
with all our technical achievements, know full well how much money can
do. And thus it will be; just the poor and simple, who do not know
what power man already exercises over the forces of Nature, just these
will have the firmest faith in the new message. For these have never
lost their hope of the Promised Land.
Here it is, fellow Jews! Neither fable nor deception! Every man may
test its reality for himself, for every man will carry over with him a
portion of the Promised Land--one in his head, another in his arms,
another in his acquired possessions.
Now, all this may appear to be an interminably long affair. Even in
the most favorable circumstances, many years might elapse before the
commencement of the foundation of the State. In the meantime, Jews in
a thousand different places would suffer insults, mortifications,
abuse, blows, depredation, and death. No; if we only begin to carry
out the plans, Anti-Semitism would stop at once and for ever. For it
is the conclusion of peace.
The news of the formation of our Jewish Company will be carried in a
single day to the remotest ends of the earth by the lightning speed of
our telegraph wires.
And immediate relief will ensue. The intellects which we produce so
superabundantly in our middle classes will find an outlet in our first
organizations, as our first technicians, officers, professors,
officials, lawyers, and doctors; and thus the movement will continue
in swift but smooth progression.
Prayers will be offered up for the success of our work in temples and
in churches also; for it will bring relief from an old burden, which
all have suffered.
But we must first bring enlightenment to men's minds. The idea must
make its way into the most distant, miserable holes where our people
dwell. They will awaken from gloomy brooding, for into their lives
will come a new significance. Every man need think only of himself,
and the movement will assume vast proportions.
And what glory awaits those who fight unselfishly for the cause!
Therefore I believe that a wondrous generation of Jews will spring
into existence. The Maccabeans will rise again.
Let me repeat once more my opening words: The Jews who wish for a
State will have it.
We shall live at last as free men on our own soil, and die peacefully
in our own homes.
The world will be freed by our liberty, enriched by our wealth,
magnified by our greatness.
And whatever we attempt there to accomplish for our own welfare, will
react powerfully and beneficially for the good of humanity.
THE CONGRESS ADDRESSES. New York, Federation of American Zionists,
EXCERPTS FROM HERZL'S DIARIES. New York, Scopus pub. co. 1941. 122p.
GESAMELTE SHRIFTEN (In Yiddish). New York, Literarishe Verlag, 1920. 2
GESAMMELTE ZIONISTISCHE WERKE. 3rd ed. Berlin. Juedisher Verlag (1934)
5 vols. Contents: vol. I Zionistische shriften; vol. 2, 3, 4,
Taegebuecher, vol. 5 Das neue Ghetto; Altneuland, Aus dem Nachlass.
DAS JUDENSTAAT; Versuch einer modernen Loesung der Judenfrage. Neue
Auflage mit einem Vorwort von Otto Warburg. Berlin, Juedischer
Verlag, 1918. 88p. Various editions.
OLD-NEW LAND tr. by Lotta Levensohn with a preface by Stephen S. Wise.
New York, Bloch pub. co. 1941. 296p.
THE TRAGEDY OF JEWISH IMMIGRATION. 2nd ed. New York, Zionist
organization of America, 1920. 47p.
ABOUT THEODOR HERZL
Bein, Alex. Theodore Herzl tr. by Maurice Samuel. Phil. Jewish. pub.
society, 1940. 545p.
Brainin, Ruben. A Life of Herzl. Vol. I, New York, 1919. (Hebrew)
Buber, Martin and Weltsch, Robert. Theodor Herzl and we. New York,
Hitachduth of America, 1929. 28p.
De Haas, Jacob. Theodor Herzl, a biographical study. New York, 1927. 2
Hoffman, Martha. The young Herzl (In Hebrew) Jerusalem, 1941. 103p.
Neumann, Emanuel. The birth of statesmanship; a story of Theodor
Herzl's life, New York, Youth dept. Jewish National Fund of America.
New Palestine. Theodor Herzl, a memorial; ed. by Meyer W. Weisgal. New
York, 1929. 320p.
Zionist Organization Executive. Theodor Herzl, ein Gedenkbuch. Berlin,
Juedischer Verlag, 1929. 79p.
1860-May 2 Wolf Theodor (Benjamin Zev) Herzl is born in
the Tabakgasse, Budapest, the son of Jakob and
Jeanette (Diamant) Herzl.
1885-May 27 First feuilleton published in Wiener Allgemeine
1894-Oct. 21 Arrest of Dreyfus.
Oct. 21-Nov. 8 Writes Das Neue Ghetto. This is an attempt to
express himself on the Jewish question.
1895-June 2 Interviews Baron de Hirsch, submits plan for
political action. Not favorably received.
Immediately after this interview, which he later
designates the beginning of his Zionist work, Herzl
begins his Diaries.
June-July Composes first draft of Der Judenstaat.
November 17 Explains idea of Jewish State to Dr. Nordau in
Paris. Meets with instant understanding. Nordau
gives Herzl introduction to Zangwill and London
November 21 London. First meeting with Zangwill.
1895-Nov. 24 London. First address before Maccabean Club.
1896-Feb. 14 Der Judenstaat published in Vienna.
May Herzl recognized as leader by Zionist students of
July 13 London. Proclaimed leader of Jewry at meeting
of Whitechapel Jews. Conflict with Chovevei Zion.
July 18 Paris. Meeting with Baron Edmond Rothschild,
who considers plan impracticable.
November 8 Writes to British Zionists suggesting collection
of a national fund.
1897-March 6 Zionsverein decides upon Zionist Congress in
Munich on August 25.
June 4 Publication of first issue of Die Welt.
June 17 Zionist Actions Committee decides to hold Congress
Aug. 29-31 First Zionist Congress convenes in Basle.
1898-Aug. 28-30 Second Zionist Congress meets at Basle.
October 26 Herzl party lands at Jaffa; tours Jewish colonies
November 2 Formal audience with German Emperor at his
headquarters outside Jerusalem. Problems of colonization
1899-March 20 Registration of name of Jewish Colonial Trust,
August 15-17 Third Zionist Congress held at Basle.
1900-Aug. 2 Fourth Zionist Congress opens in London. Herzl
attends though he has barely recovered from serious
1901-May 18 Formal audience with Abdul Hamid II at Yildiz
Kiosk. Herzl is promised pro-Jewish proclamation.
Receives Grand Cordon of the Order of Medjidje,
Dec. 29-31 Fifth Congress convenes at Basle. Zangwill attacks
ICA. Conflict between Herzl and Russian
"cultural" Zionists. Discussion of National Fund.
1902-Feb. 17 Constantinople. Sultan offers Herzl charter, but
not for Palestine.
July 5 London. Conference with Lord Rothschild.
July 7 London. Herzl appears before Royal Commission
on Alien Immigration.
October Publication of Altneuland.
1903-Jan. El Arish expedition organized.
May 11 Permission for El Arish colonization refused by
August 16 Vilna. Great ovations. There receives letter from
Sir Clement Hill of British Foreign Office offering
Aug. 22-28 Sixth Zionist Congress held at Basle. Uganda
1904-May 16 Last entry in Diaries--letter to Schiff.
July 3 Death of Theodor Herzl.
* * * * *
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